Terrence Gelb

Indeed. I have cratylistically abolished all attempts at reproduction of the self through language, a displacement of the foreclosure of meaning. There can only be deferral of self-knowledge, the continuous rustle of the cape, the fall of toy soldiers, the private language of childhood, the unsolvable riddle of man. I recall the words that confirm the veracity of your observation:

She, the faceless, screamed, “Where is the photograph? Where is it?”

I had taken away the photograph, you see, and placed it in our bread cabinet. She was still weeping and screaming under the bed covers. I said, “I don’t see how it can possibly matter where it is. It should never have been sent to you. You ought never to have seen it. It was a mistake for you to open the envelope and look at it so closely. You could never pull off a close reading, anyhow. You think, you incorrectly assume, that it is evidence of an orgy, of oblique bodies soiling a mattress, and you are afraid, afraid of so much, afraid to go back to London, afraid of the secondhand smoke, afraid to attend Richard’s parties – remember Richard? just because he stabbed his wife in the thigh last November, afraid of death in general...”

“Aren’t I real to you?” she sobbed.

I said, “No, you are a bit of sullen abstract flab to me, I’m afraid. You evoke nothing in me other than an unsparing clarity.”

In the midst of her throes of glassy-eyed sobbing, she looked beautiful once again. I was awestruck. I said nothing to her after that. I couldn’t.