Returning to the house one afternoon there is the smell,
but not the feel, of rain. In the middle of the road, between
the narrowly parked cars, a couple walk up the hill
slowly, bright green plastic bags
on all four arms. She, some metres
ahead, turns to encourage. He is reluctant to be
encouraged. Just recently I listened to and almost
understood a broadcast from the south of Germany, in which scientists
explained how readily we can be persuaded to accept
that an image represents our past: the document
that bears false witness is supplied
as its own authenticating stamp. Film
can do likewise, the long take insincere
in its surplus of reality. One of those little deceptions,
Bryan might have called it, the fat man on a beach.
Dead three weeks later: suicide
creates a past, and in this if nothing else can be contagious.
A woman had hung from a tree, music softly
drifting from her headphones, still in place.
He told me this as we sat in the back room,
in sight of the very same tree. I did not
ask whether he thought to cut her down, but heard
with incredulity and horror that the husband called round
later to apologise. We did not
talk about the day he nearly choked at lunch.
The time that lies ahead divides more vividly than
that which drifts behind. We cannot imagine
the passing of time, only suffer it, as from their faces
the couple seem to have suffered plenty, and still
persist in shopping so as to perpetuate. In a dream
I was a woman, went on a trip, and read
a poem about a murderer, which turned out to be
the story of that very trip. I did not have
this dream, but imagined that I had.