Listen to this piece read by the author

With whom am I speaking, are you one or many, what are u, are u, do I make my-
self clear, is this which we called speech what u use, are u a living form such as the
form I inhabit now letting it speak me. My window tonight casts light onto the snow,
I cast from my eye a glance, a touchless touch, tossed out to capture this shine we

cast. I pull it in, into my memory store. I have lost track. It’s snowed for more
than we’d imagined at the start, it began, unexpectedly it began, it did not really
cease again, it slowed some days, melted as it fell on some, days passed thru snow
rather than snow thru days. Did it remember us at some point, when we cld hold no

more memory of day in mind. We had started with minutes. We had loved their
fullness – cells flowing thru this body of time – purging all but their passing thru us
& our letting them flow-through. But then they stopped being different. You
couldn’t tell one minute from another, or an hour, day, year. Years pulled their

lengths through us like long wet strings, and we hung onto them, they strung us a
ways along, & up, they kept us from drowning in the terrible minutes. Once I sat
down & cried as I watched the sun come up & the flakes falling as if not noticing the
movmt from night into day – at least let there be difference – otherwise whatever

remains of desire will go – otherwise there will be nothing I have saved – nothing to
save – make day flower as a piece of time again – it’s cold – dream is a hard thing to
catch sight of – I said dreamI said dream what is it I said – I said it because just
now, looking out, it’s a reflex, I saw, as if a stain or residue of scent, a yellowing on

snow in patches, long thin stretches, like a very cold face remembering something it
wishes to forget, I saw a poverty touched by a lessening of poverty, a memory of a
chime on cold air, a strange flash as of birdshadow – so fast – though there are no
birds any longer – longer – I would have said ever again – but then there it is that

word I dread so – again – here where we have none of it or nothing but, we can’t
tell – but it was the so-rare poking-through of the strange sun we have – & for
an instant it gave us shadows – branches that do not move moved – against snow,
wall, pane, against trunk, intertwining & trembling inside other shadows, & all

was alive. You feel the suddenly. You feel like an itch a thing you used to call so
casually yr inwardness, u feel yr looking at the knotting, the undoings of nothing in
nothing, gorgeous – cursive golds what wld u say now, say it now, do it now, yr in-
wardness thinks as you feel yr greed in yr eyes yr hands yr soul – how u drink

what used to be just end-of-day, low light, any winter afternoon. Give me a day back.
Give the slowing of dusk into gloaming. Give me a night. Shut something down, close
your fist over it, hold us tight, then unclench unfurl slowly release us again into light.
Give us a dawn. Give us the one note without warning where one call one cry breaks

& darkness releases a branch & if you wait the whole crown then the body will be
unhidden and handed over into yr sight. The sight of the watching human. I turn
back-in as the accident the release of light is fixed & we are back in snowlight now.
How far forward r we. We used to speak of future. Speech had a different function

then. It’s hard to know when to break the silence now. It has something to do with
the absence of night. We never knew we shld feel the rotation. We hurled
forward. Yes towards death but what joy. Didn’t know it was a game. Should have
loved the hurtling, the losses, the hurry dilation delay fear surprise fury. We miss

the sense of abandonment yes we miss homesickness. We miss the vector in any
direction. You back there are you back there listening to me am I audible what do I
do to make this audible don’t forget to ask when your time comes for presence.
Do not ask for forgiveness. Do not ask for youth. They will offer them up

pristine and innocent. Do not listen. Do not make the silly mistake do
not ask for eternity. Look behind you, turn, look down as much as you can, notice all
that disappears. Place as much as you can in your heart. It doesn’t matter what’s in
your mind. When you come here all you will be left w/is a heart they spill out, a

tin cup, they count up what you put in it, they shake it into a small burlap sack, they
weigh it, they tie it up, they do not give it back. It is then you are placed at your
window to watch. Then the snow begins. You are told to remember the message u
accidentally forgot to attend to. It is among the things they sequestered when they

measured u. You must sit now and recall the message. The one put in yr hand but
not opened. You were busy. There was little time. Little notice was given. Its ink is
new. The fold in its paper single & crisp. The words glow in their crease. The unread
shines with its particular shine. It has been weighed. It was put to yr account &

burned. What was it, u must remember, what was yr message, what were u meant to
pass on?

Send Letters To:

The Editor
London Review of Books,
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN

Please include name, address, and a telephone number.

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences