Send and summon her; you have everything ready.
But if she comes, what will you do?
and the white of morning will be many colors. In the foamy river, the purple hue of metal rust will be guessed, then confirmed in the aroma climbing up the stairs of the city; clouds will be enclosed in a green halo that will drip down, as elementary vapor, on the buildings cropped inside the window frame; the car will pass by below in a beam of silence, between orange and ivory; the bedroom wall will tilt into grey, but your undershirt will sweat in pink, while the yellow wallpaper sets itself off from the sperm, certainly blue.
A day is not enough to learn all the shades of white. But on the third day they may begin to reveal themselves to the sensitive retina, and with them the sound of certain gestures:
the crackle of undressing wool
and the murmur of skin under the hand
showing that cotton is the one that keeps more silent
cotton slides like an air draft.
You need the gift of attention
and of knowing how to concentrate
between the eyebrows
to understand there is such a place as between the eyebrows
to be aware that the face is located
in a plane before the face
— imagine your eyes looking back at you —
and bring the spirit outside
where it wants to be
like the electric field that spills out of the television and wraps around it, which we can listen to as a fire blazing even when the screen shows nothing but storm dust.
These are the things I learned step by step, as I grew closer to the fright, so as to be able to bite it in a reciprocal bite that forces whoever uses the mouth to likewise lose a bit of flesh, if not a couple of fingers. Bodies that are whole come up on the beach like discarded sails, stretched out on the sand without having ruptured, glossy and joyous of their own strength for not having been inflated by wind. It could be the tear that makes the sail.
It was, indeed, a bit windy that day, and it seemed that a little warm rain fell when nobody was looking. So, from the beginning I associated you with an unseen rain that went well with your tall and dark figure. Nothing seemed to better suit your grey-lit skin or the dark rings around your eyes, flooding your face with the tender vibration of sleepless visions that lasted more than they should. It was as if you cried the whole time, even if you were a dried-up stone.
Beyond the simple fear of your presence, however, what I felt was a new and constant uncertainty regarding surfaces. Paving stones, for example, took to
crumbling like the sand that slides
under the steps; the glass
on which I could have leaned
my hand gained the stretchiness of gum
transparent suffocating the storefronts
instead of showing them to the open air
and it gave in concave
to the weight of touch
shaky; and even the tree trunks were no longer
still and apt at supporting
because they slipped upwards like a fish.
I felt a headache in my stomach. Expectations were also confounded. After all, your absence was what unsettled me the most, as well as my new, childish and regressive habit of asking. I grew impatient. Could the reply, side-whispered to a passenger friend, have been intended for me? What can fit into a glance out of which not too much is interpreted? Everybody slowly dying at lunchtime, unmindful of the vertigo in the large windows of the restaurant. And the most repeated question:
Is it today?
The warmth of lemon tea set fire to the face anxious to dive into it. Stirring it well with a spoon, although I hadn’t added any sugar, I could perhaps disappear into the vortex, caught in a syphon together with the lemon peels. Above and over the cup, your gaze was the last quarter of the moon. The peels hit my limbs and wheeled around me.
You never knew that cup of tea was the only thing I ingested that day. It so happens that, in the midst of fear, which in a way kept me quite full, I stopped eating almost entirely. This more or less instinctive reaction was connected to the disgust that my body began to induce in me. So eating as little as possible became a way to silently but stealthily reject it, as they say it sometimes happens with transplanted organs, and to force it to take on a different form, following through that hint of plasticity that it always had but never had to manifest to such an extent:
a form that were — a shot
of dark — more
adequate to altered reality
making it autoimmune
full of anti-body.
I knew it had worked because you didn’t notice it. It was as if everything had always been like this, which is precisely one of the fundamental principles of transformation.
The mirror made it evident that my slightly curved body had only just expelled all residual childness, to take, in its stead, an air of completeness that was, as I came to know, that of preparation for death. A preparation. The clothes covering it were good, well-suited in size and tone, between green and brown, a variety of beiges and soft yellows, roasted in Autumn, contrasting with the white skin and complementing it, and at the same time they were inadequate, humiliating, leading to self-awareness and repulsion, and their end could only be donation or trash. Hours trying on different combinations.
I would shut myself at home reading realist novels, sometimes a detective book or science literature. It was important that I cultivated myself in the interpretation of the Tarot and in the care of carnivorous plants, to know what to make of my Dionaea and its pairs of reddish green fans that always baffled us in the demonstration of their immense simplicity. Cage of the fly. Clasped hands. Squeeze and squeeze until making it mine, no, making it I. I couldn’t read poetry.
The city seemed deserted before the first message of the day arrived; a message that signified not exactly the beginning of exchange but the motion of the hours, as a perfume that in opening itself also breaks open all the air particles in which it touches molecularly. The vocation of any perfume, whether successful or not, is always to be fundamentally beyond where it is, and ideally where it is not.
I can’t say with absolute certainty that the smell of you exuded from those drippings of half-broken sentences, in the random, cadent, and sometimes magnifically just caesura of the phone screen, and, from then on, all day long, of the chat window. I mean, it was, and it wasn’t. It was the longed-for threat, the shadow under the bed.
Things had a way of turning on themselves. This conscience of reversals contaminated the walls of listening and understanding in a perverse way, disclosing the tropes rags colts plates of utterance, raptures, more than once, I searched for the whorish truth of some kind of confession; an investigator of silence a little bit longer than usual, under the moon beginning to fade during the blackout, caught in the wide net of daylight. Had you, finally, fallen asleep? Where were you now, and, most of all, what were you thinking, in a dizziness of conjectures?
Erasing the gaps that divided them, sometimes a few minutes of the same day, other times twenty-four or forty-eight hours, but never longer — that was unimaginable —, the film projections coalesced and shaped the continual night.
The spacing of this night was centripetal, or so it seemed, for it concentrated insistently on that interval between the shoulders, as if descending upon it to confirm that we were side by side. We, parodies of ourselves, individually, and, together, the parody of those who are side by side and look ahead, four parallel beams. Feel this column of air, stronger than men, said the dark room, the light reflected from the screen penetrating the space between the seats.
It was there, however, that we also learned about perpendicularity, the rhythm of cutting, the wondrous discipline of editing, not always logical, but always reassembling a game of shadows. The resting ankles that would perhaps intercept; the rubbing of knees, who knows; the temples in heads dangerously close would certainly have pulsated with warmth, they took the templature; weightless spider hands that after one, and another, and another insecure waiving of fingers, would go back to octopus hands sucking one another. Looking up front. Faces to light. To darkness what is of darkness. All movies have an ending.
One of the great works of humankind is to recline the body on a hill, almost horizontally. The hill may be coppery or green, according to opportunity. The foggy light enveloped you, oscillating between purple, the underside of grass blades, and golden, plumes and crowns of grass (nothing romantic about it), and I couldn’t help imagining, envying a bit, what that blanket felt under the form of you. The wolfish cold you emitted while laying down, eyes closed, kept the ducks away, but couldn’t ward me off.
I also needed to pretend that I wasn’t there. If I didn’t look at you while you looked at me, I wouldn’t see myself, covered under the cloud of dust and sound of the park, an occasional squawk. On land one may also play dead and stay afloat. The Anatidae walked around us, slow to think, but quick to shudder in doubt. Their bodies clearly reflected this mental disposition: a crop too full to swim, inflatable, wings too stiff to fly, pasted, feet too short to walk, webbed. To them, the high air is distant, the deep water is inaccessible, the stony ground is punishing. Nevertheless, each of their limbs fulfilled these functions, as well as another function for which it had evolved, and which a different limb executed badly, thus revealing great wisdom in a sum of ineptitudes. Such perfection can only manifest in the form on an ancient god. Hail, Cycnus, the deity classically represented as an aquatic bird with his head down. It is said that in early figurations the curved line of the god’s long neck received a golden egg laid from the tear sack, and not the cloaca, and hatched there, instead of tucked under the feathers of the horizontal thorax. This feature, or, at least, its direct expression, has disappeared with the progression of the cult, as the empty but receptive arch of the neck resembled, to devoted eyes, a more rightful manifestation of the egg than the egg itself. Everything seems to suggest that, among Cycnaries, this stripped-down image of the god, since then canonized, was more in place with the principle of isolation between husbands and their gestating wives, as it happened that, when pregnancy announced itself in the body of the woman through the customary signs, and after they had met the first rite together on a bed of reeds and straw, for the religion of Cycnus precluded the edification of cobbled temples, supplicating for the fetus to grow strong and for harmony in life inside the womb, the two members of the couple should apart physically, keeping united only in the daily remembrance of conjugal love and in the mediative imagination of the child being formed, its half-open arms, still strangers to the impulse of striking the space, as well as its prominent and floating torso, and its tiny finger-less feet, flippers, until weaning, or until the age in which the infant is also given to eat a few solids and other fruits of the earth as a complement to the maternal sap. During this period, according to the precepts of the religion, no husband should know the intimacy of other women in place of his own but look for the exclusive company of a male partner that were, ideally, also awaiting the date of his fatherhood. Conjoined by a link of temporary matrimonial status, it was expected that the imminent fathers became acquainted with a kind of pain and humility similar to those their wives felt and fostered, likewise preparing, through the mutual affection and fidelity that united them in that time and, thenceforth, during the collaborative nurturing of their offspring, for the practice of disinterested love. The gratitude they felt for the common apprenticeship and the principle of reciprocity would then manifest in the naming of the newborns, as it was designated in this matter that infant daughters ought to be given the name of their father’s companion, while the sons were called after his wife, since their liturgical dialect made no distinction between the sexes when it came to first names.
Here and there we could hear the rustling of wings over the surface, restless wings, in liquid flight. Your nature disquieted the god of the lake.