The steppe invites all and sundry, beckons with a bird hung high in the air for an hour or more, the sound of exotic stringed instruments manipulated by experts. I take notes in my head and then erase them immediately, cast them out the way one casts out demons when one is plagued by them or knows others who are. Not that there is a lot of gambling here, or algebra or masturbation. It’s just the seasons begin to take their toll – they rumble in with authority, and with spiderlings at the ends of their webs. With brazen calls for starting over. Eulalie wanders down the hall as instructed, feeling at the core of herself that something is amiss but not wishing to acknowledge this because she has acknowledged such foreboding in the past and had it come back to haunt her. Or at least tap her on the shoulders as if to say, “you’re standing on my foot.” She takes stock of her surroundings but they are so drab suddenly and dark and anonymous, she begins to wonder if maybe she has wandered by accident into someone else’s consciousness, has taken it over and is now strangely compelled to light a flame. Our flesh is re-constituted as a matter of course. It finds its likeness and shadow in everything it passes, everything it rubs up against even if it tears. The necklace on the neck of a passing stranger, the onyx in it gulping light. The flagpole standing erect and bare in the middle of a park otherwise overrun with skunks. The man’s sister is lying apparently naked in bed, the entire overwrought mass of her, though the bitterest sections are walled off by a blanket and the presence of three or four parrots each big as a small child and bobbing its head about in an aggressive manner. Prizefighters in scarlet. None of them speak. Eulalie has told me before she thinks the day divides up rationally into twelve zones or arenas and she labels them according to the way they make her feel, but she doesn’t bother sharing the results with me because she thinks I am stupid. She says so out loud and counts to three. I am expected to respond in kind but whenever I try – whenever I quote Wordsworth from memory or staple blank pieces of paper to other blank piece of paper, step back and shout voila! -- she breaks into long, exasperated sobs. She pulls her favorite old blanket over her shoulders, pin hold cigarette burns all over it like lesions of the skin, the smell of it something to remind you of other places even if you weren’t there -- you hadn’t been so much as imagined or daydreamed or limned -- when the blanket (younger then and entirely intact) picked them up, when it made their scent and aura the building blocks, the disembodied originals of its own.