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It’s early, well before dawn. The girl standing on the balcony is an angel. She has the lamb’s head in her mouth, rolling casually between her tongue and cheek like a piece of candy. She’s small and pale, with Asian eyes and a close bob. Her face is serious, standing there in my wool shirt, a scarf around her neck. When she turns to me and smiles, my father’s fire erupts from between her teeth, and the room is blind with light as if the sun were rising on the sea behind her. She has the thing and she toys with it.

You may call me whimsical, but is God not whimsical? Here he carries me, like the lamb in the lion’s mouth, gently, only to be devoured at his table in the high grass. There’s so much I want to say: to tell him to fuck off, that I’ll do it on my own, that I don’t want her. But one discovers a simple, compact rationale when dealing with Creation and its currents, and I realize, finally, after these many years, that it’s best just to be silent and still. The angel on the balcony, thinking I’ve fallen asleep, crawls into bed and lays her head on my shoulder. She whispers in my ear, her hushed voice recalling a faint breeze on a stretched thread, the lamb’s head speaking too, its fire gently tickling my nose. I nearly sneeze. For a moment she looks longingly at me under the veil of sleep, but the dark harmonies of creation are pulling at her eyelids too, and at last she rests.

She is a beautiful thing, this machination. In my reveries I begin to think the way I did as a child, of the dark places that hide beneath the ground in forests, of caves and places where rain does not penetrate. I dream of kingdoms that not even animals have yet discovered, warm chambers of rock where she and I survive by speaking our own language. But even as I lose myself in her infinities, the mysteries in her eyes, so much is trapped in the past. The lamb’s head is there, speaking quietly in my father’s voice to a small bear. Then he’s the snow fox and the lightning from his mouth cleaves a great oak. I see the girl in the river.

In the morning, I cannot remember my dreams. The angel had said that she only wanted to lay next to me, but soon we make love. She’s clumsy and unsure of herself. When I kneel behind her and hold her waist I look for her wings, running my hands along the fragile lines of her back. With her back arched, I think I can make them out, folded in the hollows under her shoulder blades. When she kisses me, I feel the heat of the scorched oak, the lives of its mothers and fathers, the fiery echos of a tree’s wishes. Somewhere in her stomach, those fires are slowly quenched. In her womb, oceans wash upon coals, and the tree’s wishes become her wombwishes.


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