The pores and the pits on my forehead could give me away; they have the potential to explain to the casual onlooker what exactly is in my mind and how long it’s been there. Fortunately very few of them know how to interpret these signals, and even fewer have the desire. I am safe for the time being but who knows who is getting ready to bound down the stairs, to come around the corner in a turban? I’ve always felt as if the crust of the Earth was just a few millimeters thick and lying in wait beneath it another world, an alternative it is our object and duty while occupying this one to try to discover, to try to penetrate by stomping around in boots, say, by digging everywhere with spades. The woman who lived in the apartment beside mine at one time (this was when I still lived in apartments, when I still resided in something man-made rather than spending my time in an ever-expanding series of caves) would drop whatever she was doing when she glimpsed me out the window having at the grass and the soil beside our building with my bare hands. Her teeth were straight and flat as cardboard, her smile like something that hadn’t convinced itself yet it was an actual entity, something that has been named and described by those whose job it is to catalog objects and those states of mind associated with objects because they seem to be required to be associated with something. She didn’t share this particular metaphysical conviction of mine, but she liked the feel of the dirt between her fingers and the sounds she made when she came out to join me became so distracting, I was forced to wear ear muffs in the heat of summer or stuff bits of newspaper into my ears when I couldn’t locate the ear muffs. I admit my behavior borders on the insulting sometimes and when I try to remedy it, I am nearly always successful, but then, immediately, an odd, obstinate feeling comes over me and I stop trying again. What’s the use? Whoever I happen to be standing beside, whoever I happen to be engaged in conversation with at any particular moment, will soon find himself so far away from me both physically and emotionally speaking, it will be like he had never really shared space with me at all. Perhaps I invent each person I meet for purposes that blur, that disappear just as rapidly and as completely as those who I have invented. Then, I must start all over again, I must pull the shape of the face and the color of the eyes of someone new down out of the firmament and conjure up a backstory inevitably making use of little bits of my own. There will be the part in it with the shell necklace on a bare neck and my desire burning hot as embers. And a light rain later, making its way in through broken windows.