restricted access Playing Dead, and: Measuring the Height of a Shadow, and: Today’s Meeting, and: This City’s This and That, and: It Was Good That No One Lived There, and: Afternoon with Magnolia, and: Scene with a Total Eclipse of the Moon and a Canna, and: DMZ, Cloud Family in Wonderland, and: History of the Void, and: Brief Sunshine after Snowfall
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Playing Dead, and: Measuring the Height of a Shadow, and: Today’s Meeting, and: This City’s This and That, and: It Was Good That No One Lived There, and: Afternoon with Magnolia, and: Scene with a Total Eclipse of the Moon and a Canna, and: DMZ, Cloud Family in Wonderland, and: History of the Void, and: Brief Sunshine after Snowfall

playing dead

On a wooden bench under a crape myrtle tree, a beetle having heard my footsteps is playing dead. I play dead, too. As a breath of wind passes, the beetle slowly moves a feeler, clumsily, as if casting off skin covering its eyelid.

Oh look, it was playing dead for only a moment, but it’s as though it really died and is being reborn. Then what should I do? Sunlight shatters, shadows sway. Although it means losing face, I pretend I am being reborn too. Like a newborn baby seeing sunlight for the first time, I view the sky through crescent-shaped eyes.

A breath of wind, a bowl of water, a basketful of sunlight, a handful of soil, a drawerful of silence . . . Suddenly, someone runs into me in passing. The day I die, I’ll play dead for real.

After my death, newly sprouting olive leaves, morning-glory flowers, and cucumber vines will emerge,

the eggs of water birds and mountain birds will hatch. And my senses, which once supported my existence, will whisper,

“Hey, look at him pretending to be reborn.” [End Page 3]

measuring the height of a shadow

  Mahmoud Darwish died. That was in August.   I turned the page of my diary and wrote:    “One journey has ended and another journey has begun.”   He will come back, but where? In Palestine under the rule of Israel again?   Oh goodness! I opened the diary to a new page and wrote:    “He departed in August. To come back again in June.”

There is a tribe that believes a person’s height decreases very slightly at the moment of death.

Farewell! I salute your torn shadow. My own shadow knows me, a white, violet grave rising in my heart, and I love my shadow, light as a grassy grave. And so farewell! This evening, early summer passes, having taken the measure of your shadow, smiling like a blossom.

Your torn shadow is hovering lightly in the air, weightless. I bestow a first kiss. Don’t worry: the decrease in height will be very slight. You fought well. Loved well. Like a comma made slightly shorter. Like a comma taking a little rest.

He departed in August. To come back again in June.

The end is no more than a beginning. The last shadow, which was nothing but the first, carefully wiped its lips with a white blossom that had fallen to the ground.

today’s meeting

A and B meet and talk about how C is doing, A, B, and C meet and talk about how D is doing. A, B, C, and D meet to talk about how E is doing. [End Page 4] (You will already have realized that “how X is doing” is meant to sound fancy.)

A, B, C, D, E, and F meet to talk about how G is doing, then divide into two groups of three   to talk about how H and I are doing, before changing the subject and talking about how   J, K, and L are doing.

They part.

They always talk about someone else, never about each other.

this city’s this and that

I must eat the cord I am hanging from in this life. Like a spider eating its web.

At two o’clock, I must devour the cord called This. At three o’clock, I must devour the cord called That.

At the same time, I pull a new cord from my body,   to hang yet higher.

Until one day, hanging in the air This and That   will meet and devour each other’s face.

it was good that no one lived there

Lightning flashes. The broken road appears.

No road leads directly to you. As if that...


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