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About Cyrus Console
It was your idea to name me Francois; it is my loss. I was born in Pontroise, at the foot of the class. At length my neck learns the weight of my ass. I know you’re going to be upset, so call the neighbors right away. Don’t let the stepkids into the house.
I consider two holes in the delicate ovoid of the skull, through which this thought, this burdensome device, might be blown. These haggard pilots from whom I descend: all they wanted was a little nap / while the sky was straight.
Else I traced back through these circles, where around these condemned gathered the bereft, whom the abandoned crowded in upon, pressed by the lonely and disappointed, the multitude for whom things never came together to resemble those promises thrown by their respective magic lanterns on their respective childhood walls.
For the officer, psychic refuge was unimaginably distant and clean. I wished never again to live but possessed of a style and bearing consistent with the rank of officer.
You have asked what you could possibly be doing. In point of fact I have watched this cup on the table. In the cooling tea a leaf is floating, a primitive timepiece. Elegant, plain as day, it has either no moving part or it has no stationary part. It’s nothing, a row of bushy trees flown over by spare clouds in the young moonlight. Above these clouds, more clouds, seeming not to move. Above, by the moment, the air grows thinner, unable to keep anything down. It wastes away. The next day, silence. In the end, in the meantime, tall men search the tall grass.
Men walk in space, for the love of God. The new camera will take pictures of the very edge of the universe. It will be ten times, according to the astronomers, improved upon the old camera. The astronaut curses himself. He cannot leave off worrying about his new wife.
My husband lies inconceivably distant. In the history of marriage none has gone so far afield so fast. The handyman turns the corner; I can no longer watch him through the window. Then, nothing is the same as it used to be. It is the same as it has always been. The gutters want cleaning. The rainwater runs from the house in a sheet.
I strove likewise to be compassionate. Toward the longhaired man who appeared from time to time to hug the back wall, thumbing his lighter-flint with the grace of one unobserved, I felt nothing but warmth. Nothing. The pipe decrepitated. I found it ten thousand times over more useful than the pieces of eight. I picked at bits of song to see if they held tune. Don’t lie to me. Tell me where did you sleep last night.
CYRUS CONSOLE is from Topeka, Kansas. His first book, Brief under Water, from which these selections are drawn, is forthcoming from Burning Deck.