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Contents Page: Jan 1, 2012, vol 7 no 4

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Steven Carter

In the Crowd

Just this morning, in the twilight zone between sleep and waking, a thought pops into my head: All forms of memory are masochistic. Because there she is yet again, the brown-haired girl in Victoria, B.C., walking ahead of me toward the Empress Hotel on a warm August afternoon. I never met her, never even saw her face, but what remains in my fevered memory is the turn of a shapely ankle as she climbs the hotel steps and disappears through the tall entrance.

Over the last forty-plus years, compared to this image burned indelibly in my mind, untold thousands of words spoken to me and by me—right up to and including yesterday's—are so many alms for oblivion.

They speak of an infinite number of parallel universes, where every possibility in this particular one, every might-have-been, exists and is endlessly played out. And so, in one universe I call to her but she doesn't turn; in another, she does; in another, brushing a lock of hair from her eye she smiles and speaks to me; in still another. . . But all these tableaux and more are stitched together by the delicate curve of her high-heeled ankle, the sun low on the horizon, a day moon, and the toss of her hair. And inevitably: all my losses before and since.

glass doors —
clouds and sky

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