Blood surrounds itself, leaves space between approximate rings for the imagination to fill, to populate with something other than simple dirt, the yellow sands that make up this part of the map. Funny, how we are always looking to connect one thing to another, to enlist them all in families and genera we have yet to create names for just as we have yet to determine why the old names, the original names, were not good enough. And who rejected them without showing his face? Was he attempting to conceal lips that were too thin, or draw out some part of the self that lurks beneath the surface the way black and white striped freshwater stingrays are said to lurk beneath the waves when you are canoeing in Paraguay? Samson couldn’t be bothered with the birds when he was younger, couldn’t be bothered with anything that wasn’t somehow connected to the prose romances of Gautier, a cheap edition of whose works he stumbled on young and stole from the library of a family acquaintance, a woman who would later jump to her death from the rim of the gorge because she had become convinced there was no gorge, that what you saw in the daytime – the buzzards aloft on thermals, the air quavering like the voice when the body attached to it has been pummeled physically, or even just emotionally by the pictures on a cinema screen, say, not isolated, alone and bounded solely by themselves, of course, but as a whole, the coming together of those phantasms in such a way as to suggest they are real and interconnected, they are telling us something we don’t already know – what you saw in the daytime went away at night. Simply altered its appearance, or disappeared. Morphed chemically and enormously in the coming of the moon. We can attempt to prove any number of suppositions we don’t in fact believe to be true, but once they are proven, once we are successful in demonstrating what we set out to demonstrate in spite of our own superior instincts, in spite of our reluctance to wager the detached greenhouse out back with its broken windows and its contents turned now a dispiriting brown, how are we expected to continue? Whose version of events (written out longhand on note cards) are we to take with us when we go on vacation or when we lay ourselves down, however reluctantly, in the grave? One begins to wonder if there isn’t something to be found in Gautier – all those words, all those gypsies setting fire to things and the interminable visits to the opera – that requires an eventual interest in chickens. No, more than that. An obsession. For there can be no question whatsoever it is Sampson come down again from the foothills where he has hidden away like a troll in his caves the better part of five years now, ever since he split the flesh at the side of my face with his hammer. And he leaves again come morning, gore and feathers about his mouth, the shambling form mute and alone and enormous, like something out of the Aegean past set down here by the highway where it straightens out and sinks down, where the sun sees itself multiplied two and three times in the windows of the dry cleaner and that place where the handwritten sign out front every single day, ice and bitter flood included, promises live bait.