Unknowable in Gone Lawn
I was listening, and I was there, and everyone was there, and then there was a dissolution. The interesting part was over. I walked away down down the sidewalk, through the snow cold, and a hand was at my shoulder. I could feel it but never see it. It hung on. Sometimes it would leave but never forever. Some kind of dog walked at my side, infinite in both directions, most directions. A line of that dog never ending—an eternal recurrence. But unlike the hand, it never left. Sometimes I would look at it, and if it looked back, there was a paralyzing redness. We would go around—all three of us, or some number—to a few places in that neighborhood. To the bar, the alley, apartments, apartments, greasy spoon. Why did no one else see them? But I stopped wondering.
One time I talked to a woman, but she left. She didn’t stay like the dog. Like the hand. We talked outside of the greasy spoon. It was snowing, and she was coming into the outside when she noticed me. She said, “Oh, hi there.” And I stopped. People don’t talk to me. And I said, “Hi. Hi there.” And she said, “Are you hungry?” And I thought about how I looked, and about how I wasn’t hungry like I used to be, and I looked over at the dog, wondering. And the hand moved on my shoulder. And I said, “Yes.” And she said, “I’ll buy. Come on in here.” She was just a nice woman who felt sorry for me, ragged, Holocaust-looking. The radio inside the building was playing a song by someone who was called the voice of his general nation. The dog was in there too, filling everything. The hand was in there too, holding on. The woman was in there too, sitting down.
Still Eating Oranges