I how ye ever you little bastard, get your bloody good fo not a damn thing my hunny he says its all math can’t you ever believe me I do it all for you nautilus, worm writing a forever home I mean can’t even stand up straight useless pernicious use of equivocation whenever triumphant ducks in da pond friend we got a million of them it’s not nearly as infinite as a picture but we use about a quarter ton of unshelled forgetting for one minute how we even goin get down there when isn’t a volkswagen for at least eighteen continuing once the gauge has reached a crosshatching stroke the nib will have to be supercilious but I have mine for nineteen year we toked togetha me and him I always took care of him then a river blasphemed the settlement and I could never feel right again not even in my own helicopter guns blazing villagers in cement walls with a livelihood pinned to them juice in me I am not thirsty, killed him one day or at least forever a lion.

I never get any mail. When I go out in the afternoon to check the box it is always empty, cavernous, whistling like the cave we found out by the creek, when my father, to steady himself, thrust his walking stick into the ground and the entrance collapsed and revealed itself. Day after day I am greeted by a single insolent leaf (I refuse to remove it) printed for a local exterminator (“groundhogs, midges, nut-hatches, robins, termites, deer, ants, moles, voles, hawks, owls, swifts, caterpillars, mice, crows, baby rats, intrusive spiders, and skunks / ALL DESTROYED HUMANELY”). The field is barren and I don’t need his services. Concrete and shards of plaster dot the enclosure. A raccoon was found dead underneath an old tire, its body flattened to the depth of an old washrag, a few indifferent crickets hopping round its corpse. The locals used to throw their garbage here, before I put a stop to that, and there’s nothing now but sand and a few thistly weeds. I get all my electricity from electro-magnet (needing just a small boost from a car battery to get the whole operation started). In the morning I turn the contraption off and wipe down the coils with a damp cloth. A concerned letter, sent in the days before I moved here and mail service gradually ceased (to all appearances) once explained this complicated process, complete with simple illustrations, as well as a small check (the last, or next-to-last, of a series) from my father. His body, when I went to see it, was white and homely, his suit arranged so nattily that one understood immediately (before even glancing at his face) that he was dead. In the morning, as I go to check the box, a waft of the neighbour’s lilies assaults my nostrils and I’m reminded of the funeral parlour and of that time, which I would rather forget. Which is why, you understand, it’s so vexing when I open the cover and find nothing waiting for me there.


What’s the light doing? The light is getting in my eyes and I must ask what it is doing. No one seems to know. She, least of all. In fact she has not said one word, not even when I politely—very politely!—inquired after her hat (so striking I assumed she’d worn it to provoke conversation). Its make. The material. Where one could find another like it. The hat, I said, in summa, is extremely charming. The professor, to my right, is speaking of a trip he took in a balloon. Over the jungles of Madagascar. Did you see the whole of the jungles or just a part? I believe I saw the greater part of the jungles. In fact, Sindbad, on one of his many— What do you or anyone else know about Sindbad?! I’m very excited, leaping up from my seat. The professor raises his hands, I believe protecting himself from the light. Sindbad! Of all people! She turns to the professor and intones, in a low voice: But the jungle? The professor nods his head vigorously. Now that I am standing the light is stronger than ever. I must cover my eyes. The professor gets under a blanket.