Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fallen Idols (The New Yorker)

Fallen Idols

In bed by nine-thirty
out of bed by 6 A.M.

For the past few years,
His wife has been dreaming
More and more in French.

These conversations are oddly soothing.
Nothing could be more natural
than the cadences of
one language summoning the other.

We had finished dinner
Were sitting in the living room.
Cocktails are at six-thirty.
Why must you find trauma
Where there is none?

When the shells began to fall,
The visits gradually ceased.
Soon came the names of the dead.
Their brief descriptions
scribbles on three-by-five inch index cards.
The war shattered the world
Visibly destroyed that nursery of living culture.

Someone starts speaking in French.

The boy became depressed
hinting at suicide.
He brews coffee
and head down the hall to his study.
White brick walls
Black-and-white tiled floor.

Conceal the losses.

He dips into the manuscripts and books that
people send him
seeking a moment
when all the world spoke French.

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