Sunday Afternoon

January 12, 2007 at 6:56 pm (Surrealist Anthology)

 Erich Cohn


At the beginning there are trains, trains with boxcars of federal eagles, a barn on a hill with open doors, talk oaks bending into air, black crows that become girls in red dresses who step past you as you stumble up the stairs. You turn on the radio but the words run away. Mercury hovers above the traffic. Samurai bedecked with pearls glide past. You glance past the bank urns to see all points of the horizon converge at an immense dead tree. It follows you in a rusted, faceless car until you lose it in the dust. You arrive home to find everyone missing and begin to fast.

As the full moon rises surrounded by haze and conversations about prophecy and sinks into a dark oak, you begin to make lists of symbols, connecting the dots, until a blue heron flies past and snowflakes fall to the ground. A tunnel emerges. You walk slowly through the trees down to a silent pond where black bats dance in the dusk.

You attempt a clear explication, but so much sleep has fallen, so many years of sleep have fallen. In all this time books have become lines, lines words, and words just fragments of ghosts. On abandoned dirt roads, you build perfect houses. Afternoon becomes evening, shadows deepen, displaced spheres succumb to the weight of circles. The door opens. The first numbers are called.

White dove, silver moon, fever of desire. Trains rumble through the window, setting the clouds on fire. She makes an oblique reply, expressing regrets in quarter notes and long-stemmed scripts. We look across the room at the broken window and mentally try to put the pieces together.  Everything passes into profound quintessence, which is taken as a foretaste of the afterlife.

The servant speaks softly, “The window. May I close it now?”


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