Shiloh means “place of peace,” she tells me. I tell her that Freud endured thirty-three operations for cancer of the jaw. It’s already the afternoon when we’re visited by a man with sleep-tousled hair. Life has been reduced to the paper one accumulates passing through it. Years from now, we’ll make the rocks leap and split. Meanwhile, the circus bears must dance their creepy minuet.
I have a pale, wretched face, an injured hand, but your breath tastes purple to me and far from everywhere.
And when I fill you, you’re Atlanta, smoldering and in ruins, and I’m a cart loaded with the groaning wounded, we’re twelve grains of gunpowder floating mightily through the air, a new kind of pearl-handled combustion, and the only patch of snow to endure to evening on our quiet street.
Somebody Else: Arthur Rimbaud in Africa, 1880-91