White Pastoral
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White Pastoral It is not a film. You cannot stay outside it feeling the actual breeze and scent or play it backwards to the place where everyone agreed upon a destination, a politics in which no one is exploited and the material for weightless summer clothes appears from nowhere. I cannot call it death, although some would, as they would throw a coin onto a map of the night sky. The causeless stars are for sale. Death is harder. It gutters between the names of things in their stellar loneliness—a hotel orchestra and a hopelessly late rose. White pastoral. Out of season, only the elderly and these others dislodged from their orbits by marriage or the impossible deaths of young children darken the shadows behind the palms at night as the hotel orchestra presses a tango against the air where there is no flesh. This is the death that whitens every smile and is patient. And I thought it was too late in the year for roses when one the size of a child's head fisted through the snapdragons. It wore the frost of October like a disease and was four different colors. This is the death that fractures white light into a finger splay. It is not patient. It has no time. And there was a woman pounding at the door when I was in bed with another woman. She was the palest thing you could imagine 49 in the vertical cold cell of the doorway. "I am your last chance," she said. This is the death that does nothing. It is outside time, carries no flowers, and if I had gone with her that night my flesh would be the air in everybody's old age and a shepherd would play his scrannel pipe. White pastoral: the small breast of death, the legs like a boy's, the causeless absolute effect of light in someone's skin, of sound inside someone's mouth next to you in bed. It is not a hallucination. Like a girl in an apron dress running before her parents to the waterfall where every Labor Uay they take a picnic and photograph themselves for the -winter album, it exults in the clumsy lives we plan. I remember being told that no one ever makes up an hour's sleep once it is lost. You just go on, tired to the end. Orchestras disband. Roses collapse inward. There is no time for happiness, but I feel it as I feel the weightless summer clothes of the material air. 50 ...



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