Pssst, Antschel, look at this, under my coat: you can see her, on a grey staircase, that seems to lead only down, down to the bottom of something you knew, something you saw and thought you knew. Just look at how vaguely she stands, Antschel, all in white noise, a yiddishe Ophelia in the reeds of language with a hand stretched out just for you. What, Antschel, no words? You look at me like you were a stopped clock, but eyes instead of hands? You know, Antschel, a book is a book is a book, and even if the light poured from your eyes, you would still have to find a corner to cry in, a small Antschel with his head resting on two invisible walls. Yes, light can pour, old friend--don't you recognize me?--it can drip a bit of brightness into a puddle around your feet. And she is there, that woman, who you think of in Am-hearse, a halo drowning below you.
Psst, Antschel, fear death by water. Or not. That's all I have to tell you.
David Lazar is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Ohio University. He has edited Conversations with M.F.K. Fisher and Michael Powell: Interviews for the
University Press of Mississippi. His essays and prose poems have appeared in The Anchor Essay Annual, The Best of The Prose Poem, Southwest Review,
Chelsea, The Denver Quarterly, The Ohio Review, and other journals and magazines. Best American Essays has cited his "Notable Essays of the Year" four times.
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