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Apocrypha I don't know why anyone writes history. The vertical, thin-ankled civilizations of morning, the evening continents just now taking their soft hands away from the bodies of men killed in rioting, from the close, deluded eyes of one woman whose angels knew none ofParadise, whose physicians put her body in the ground— what good are such things? Where are their teeth? The heart bites down and scarcely knows itself or the small, coral woman beside me who would give her heart to the map on the -wall more easily than to gods in love with games. The hillsides just beyond her window flower in bright patches more generous than laughter. The air is a clean residence and airplanes buoyant overhead. A man in the next apartment types out the name of a lost continent. He types the names of its kings and the long rites by which they became kings. He betrays each secret in its turn, and broken characters caper to the margins of his page, not suffering because he has suffered enough for them all. Gods begin with secrets, as do kings and history and the mistake of pain. When I am with you the temples draw into themselves like evening beneath bright patches of the mock orange. Or they do not, and I am in the teeth of the faithful on the temple stairs, thrust into the ground with bad angels and bad physicians. 43 Their gods were too much in love with games. It was too much like suffering, spilling out of temples, multiplying into the less admirable bodies of laughter, little flowers the size of your thumbnail dividing hillsides and the air into so many loving fragments that the temples died of increase. I knew a man who died in the rioting. I know a woman who mistook those flowers for the ascent of angels and pure physicians. 44 ...


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