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I WANT TO BELIEVE IT I Susan Wood I'd almost say there's no such thing as history, that what we know depends only on the hush of spruce, this mauve half-light, a stand of blue-black mountains defining a valley where all the houses are yellow with green shutters, ample rooms smelling of roses and linseed oil. I told you once I wanted closure, the formal patterns a Japanese garden makes, the chaste shadows of equal angles. But notice the smoked mirror of the pond, how the light sinks into it, hidden until the place where water hesitates, then plunges, like a woman who's just stepped out of her dress before a new lover, to a river lost in trees. We found that river once, sliding down a tangled bank, and agreed it was worth it, if only because that still, odd moment, those improbable chunks of sunlight tumbling through the leaves, seemed all the life we ever wanted or believed in. But it always fools you, that green humming at the heart, time stretching away like a field of blank, white pages. Even now, when our ghosts are hovering everywhere, diving and swooping, selfprotective as the sparrows nesting in the eaves above our heads; even now, when our pasts clutch us like these moths grasping at the screen or words that come and come and won't go away, I want to believe it, want to whisper that history is what we make it, fluid, never static, like water rising to air, shared as this fractured light that bends our bodies into such congruent shadows we can't remember where we are. I want to believe it. 12 • Th e M is s o u r i R ev ie w ...


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