The life insurance salesman will be here soon. He will put it to him bluntly: he has responsibilities. In his case, there are photographs of the funeral. He is a handsome corpse. He feels flattered. There is a picture of his wife and daughter, dining in an expensive restaurant. They are dressed in mourning, but they look satisfied when the waiter arrives with the check. The waiter is affectionate. He pats the daughter’s head, slips his hand under the wife’s skirt. She squirms. He draws out a golden hatchet. There is a close-up of the hatchet. His name is engraved on the handle. The spelling is wrong. “NO SALE,” he bellows, hurling the photograph at the salesman’s head. It flutters to the floor like a lady’s handkerchief, damp with tears.
The letter he sent to the President was written on perfumed steel, not too sharp, just enough to show he meant it.
“I wonder what he means,” thought the President.
Over his first cup he decided to be free.
Over his second cup he forgave his executioner.
Over his third cup he brushed the counter with his wings.
Over his fourth cup he recalled the smell of the cross.
Over his fifth cup he discovered the lost continent. The language came back to him, all at once, a fever of words bursting within him, his mouth on fire, every secret given voice, even the reason for being there, and the next cup, and the next.
Whom had he ever sought but the woman within? How clear it seemed now, as he dissolved before the mirror, with a sound like the rustling of silks.
The Interpretation Of Dreams
He saw her crouching between pleasure, and pain. Should he laugh, or cry? The light in her eyes was unequivocal as the noonday sun. He imagined walking an imaginary straight line towards her. Perhaps her heart would open, like the twin halves of a peach.
When he woke up, she lay cleanly separated beside him. If he could love both of her equally, he knew, he would understand the dream.
New York City
He went there, in his dreams. As the pull of the city became greater, he took to sleeping, more and more. During commercials, at intersections, between his wife’s sighs. Giant skyscrapers would rise for a moment. He’d see himself, on the twenty-third floor, sitting on the window sill, studying a map of the city.
If only he could fly.