FEBRUARY 2006 – NO. 3
On the death of Isaac Babel.
Nothing was particularly funny about it. Yet he thought he of all people should be able to find something. Of the two guards he noticed only the smaller one to his right, his waggy beard, his breath like rotten pears. Of the guard on his left, he noted only that he was more ape than man. His own feet though, he did notice them. How one was very cold and one seemed to be on fire. None of this approached what he might have seen if this was happening to someone else and not him. Isn't this comedy? That at a moment like this we can hardly watch ourselves, but others, oh others, others, others.
All I am is a noticer. Won't you allow me one last detail?
The guard on his left's wife. Her small dry hands. He'll caress them tonight, the crannies of a small dry hand. This ape. She'll ask: How was your day love?
And he'll say, Nothing much. A little Jew in glasses, some others.
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