[Your face before dawn]

In solidarity with my new writing student I should assign myself reworking of my most recently abandoned novel manuscript. These are the first and last sections.

1. Heaven

How many roads lead to Heaven? If you trip on the bridge, do you fall? Had some event marked Una, did a single moment fix her to her chair? Or was it an accretion of forces, a slow accumulation; a maze of impasses that turned her bones to brittle rock? It may be either or both, as damage comes at every speed and the effect is the same.

Ought she find someone to cultivate, and not simply care for her? Had this been Frank’s desire before he was cast in her mold? Love loves and does not coerce, but would he love her without her wounds? Then there was the farm; the duty of it that drained her, although she wanted it. Suffering and balm were the coin of her realm.

We had been expensive and must make the debt good. Our value varied with the markets, which careened. We received sweets, and our debt increased with undeserved kindnesses. Still we dreamed of loving an object that would not set itself below us, or above. A diamond or a comet, we thought, a fiery gem that would hit us right in the chest.

1001. Epilogue and Tableau

Those were the questions we had for each other in those days. Did you see that? I saw it. Where is it? It is in a dream. Each event had been welded to many inner landscapes, and every landscape was a variation on one which had gone before. Would we all continue to sit in our chairs and speak, or would we also hold out our hands?  We had different answers to all of these questions, and while some harmonized on certain scales, others did not.

And Helen and the Goose had great plans for us, but we resisted these for a very long time as we debated far more pressing issues, having to do with the clues we had received and the fragments of tales. And these fragments had been recited so often that they formed a tale in themselves, although the original stories had been lost. In the end, one can say anything about anything; the world is so uneven, so full of texture and gaps and dreams that jostle each other, rubbing together and setting off sparks before settling again to the ground.

The water is sunny and green. Now in our wetsuits, each of us an island on the pier, we are beginning to hold our hands out. Next we will take them back and adjust our masks; then, one by one, we will fall. Standing slightly aslant, you have taken our picture, and people will look at it. “Yes,” it will be said, “that was how they were.”


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