Attempt an interview with the voiceless, and you might discover what Hell is. What? you ask. How dare I proclaim the existence of such a space?
Let the length and breadth of my silence serve as your answer.
I never discard the bread of my hunger. Instead, I crumble any stale pieces onto the sill and watch turtle-doves approach through the casement windows.
Tonight, in my mind-meanderings, we have just left Mayakovskaya station and are walking briskly down Bolshaya Sadovaya. We turn a corner and enter a tall gray building with rounded bay windows. We hear a woman cry out, "Oh, the poor seagull!" and then there is a sudden crash: a book clatters down the cement steps and thumps near my feet.
I reach down to retrieve the book. I notice it is curiously bound in green velvet with red lettering, but another hand lifts it quickly out of mine, before I can even place the language of its title. "Come!" says the owner of the hand, a tall woman clad in a long purple gown. She lifts a brass door knocker, and a heavy black door opens and then closes decisively behind my back.
Glancing up, I find myself, alone, once again, in a dimly-lit basement apartment. I lean back on a worn chaise lounge and sigh.
A soft touch on my knee surprises me in the midst of my silence. I think, at first that it is Begemot returning to haunt me, and raise my hand, ready to slap his head. But no--it is a gentler, smaller creature. He tickles my knee until I kneel down on the parquet in an attempt to speak to him. We begin a quiet conversation, and discover that we are somehow old friends. I name him--most affectionately--my Mouse. The rain arrives, washing down the dusty streets, yet leaves me with the delight of his acquaintance.
I'm mad, you say? Before you pass a final judgment, come and meet my Mouse--or should I call him Prince Myshkin? Just grant me a bit of notice before you arrive, and I'll leave out a few extra crumbs for him, after the doves have finished their dinner.
A dreamless sleep falls from the shimmering leaves. --Sappho fragment, tr. Andrew Bellon I changed, thickened, ...
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