Marie Borel
from "Close Quote"
translated by Keith Waldrop






French text

No advantage in uncovering what's in who-
ever's head. Any imbecile can stick his head
in the sand, but nobody knows what the ostrich
sees. I looked for something I had lost. Indeed I
spend much of my time looking. Things don't
always turn out what they are, I don't know why.
A young woman passing by asks me the time.
Already? she says, shocked and a little offended,
as if the fact that it's eight o'clock were my fault.

     I've no evidence for claiming this is a beach in the
South but I know it is. Under the big linden in the front
yard a couple of little old men, happy and hard of
hearing, were rocking. The tree their too close con-
nection — dead, all their loves. What better escape
from boredom than traveling? It was early in June. The
morning threatened to wind up before it began. The old
men had no idea. Even the taxi drivers felt guilty.
Courtiers made clever remarks. Authentic alphabetical
melodrama: I was slogging through a bog of indexes.

     "Want another coffee?"