- Evening, and: While Reading Eva Hoffman's
A driver holds openthe limo door as a diplomatsteps in. Closerto the center a man leans over the edge of an upperbalcony and shakes out his pinkduvet. What is he hoping
will drift loose: a single lost eyelash,the memory of her body, or does he onlywish to capture, as in a net, the earlyevening air? Perhaps she waitsinside. The diplomatmust wait much longer
to find his own sheets. The driverwaits outside the embassy, and looksthrough the windows on the street:some men watch porn movies ontheir large screens; some men makelove (real-time) on their small beds. It is the
fractions of momentsthat stay with us: how he touchesher right eyebrow, her leftcollarbone; how he turnsthe dial on his car radio searchingfor the latest love song. [End Page 30]
While Reading Eva Hoffman's
My neighbor stands on top of her concrete garden ballwearing a lilac scarf while talking on her phone. Behindher in the light of dusk is a wall covered in climbingred flowers. Isabel's brother wore a lilac scarfthe day he overdosed and died. Next door the night
baker lit up in the large window rolls out loavesof muesli bread and when he turns his back his t-shirt says,"Cognizant, I bake." The following morning a family of twelvein three generations strings a tightrope between elm treesand take turns practicing walking the line. A fortyish woman
in sheer skirt and bare feet (heels kicked to the side) succeedsmost often, along with the youngest boy. A father walksto the door of the cafe and returns with a tray of sandwicheswhich he carries over to the tightrope walkers. Latermy neighbor is again on top of her concrete ball listening
to messages from her ex-lover. The evening Isabelplayed the last chord of the Chopin scherzo in Spain,her hands still hovering in the air, a bomb shatteredthe concert hall lobby. Was this plannedby her ex-lover? No one was physically
harmed but it took her weeks before she could returnto the keys, and by then she heard music of a different form:the sound inside her head which she would try to writeout in musical scores. We each carry our own songin the lilac moments of the day. We break [End Page 31]
bread and eat what strangers have carefullycreated for us late at night while they whistle a tunethey learned long, long ago or have just foundon the tips of their tonguesin the solitude when the bread begins to rise.
Eleonore Schönmaier's writing has won numerous awards, including the Alfred G. Bailey Prize, Earle Birney Prize, and Sheldon Currie Fiction Award (for her story "Sidereal Time"). She is the author of the poetry collection Treading Fast Rivers (McGill-Queen's UP), which was a finalist for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award for best first book of poetry by a Canadian. She has taught advanced fiction courses at St. Mary's University and creative writing at Mount Saint Vincent University. Her poem "Weightless" is included in Best Canadian Poetry in English 2010.