No more monoliths. No more gods.-Carole Maso,
from Rupture, Verge, and Precipice: Precipice, Verge, and Hurt Not

The lines of brave people stretch all the way back to the coffee shop at Logan airport. The belts must be removed, they are told. We have two hours before the flight.
There was the usual smell of naphthalene in the house. They wanted me to read couplet by couplet, so they could compare them to the originals. When the three of us arrived, she met us barefooted and we stood at the porch for half an hour, introducing ourselves. It turns out the neighbor had the keys.

Cape Cod. 8:45 in the morning. We are going over the poem “Sold.” One of us is sitting in the kitchen, one-on the sofa, one-on the floor, one has gone downtown.
Boccaccio writes in his preface to the Ladies: Remember, we are all women and none of us is so young that she doesn’t know what foolish things we would do without the help of some man.

Her husband sent letters to her almost every day: “I know that living with me is unbearable for you . . . I don’t exist for you any longer . . . the differences in us have been so extreme.”
Speaking about the future of the novel, Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy used to say that a composition should not end but begin with a marriage; this helps expose the conflict because a marriage does not solve problems, it only originates them.

The house has an old, musty odor: the windows had been tightly sealed during the winter months. In spring, the sparrows sense the sun. They begin to chirp differently. They sit differently on the branches. There are forty poems—forty sparrows that are treacherously changing their voices. So swiftly.
“By nature fickle, we are all stubborn, suspicious, cowardly and timorous, which fine qualities, I am sure, would cause us to break up our company sooner than we expected, and with little honor to ourselves, unless we had someone else to guide us,” wrote Boccaccio. I believe an old Greek philosopher once said: He is laughable who speaks on behalf of others.

It is necessary to free oneself from Anna Karenina’s syndrome.
She, who wrote, “Seek guidance only if you have no visions for the future,” was the one to guide us, eighty years after her death. She also wrote, “I want to live.”

I woke up at night with an irregular heartbeat: the manuscript of translated poems sat on my bed with a guillotine hanging over it—This word does not work in this line.
We were in Alexandrapol trying to find the house in which she was born. Her equals stood glaring from their bronze pedestals, the entrances of their houses adorned with black obsidian plaques, while she . . . I am telling Tina Bastajian about this at the airport, as the coffee machine mutes my voice.

The concept of a monogamous marriage had to fail sooner or later: the future belongs to the new forms of communal coexistence, a kind of nomadic tribal living.
The future belongs to those who know more than their native tongue and who live in apartments built of glass.
We gather in the living room the following morning. The furniture in the house has collected a lot of dust: nobody lives here—a guesthouse by the shore. One of us is married, one of us engaged, one of us single, one of us an Amazon.

Tina and I leave the coffee shop and join the crowds of people. A name that stands alone.
The snow was melting in the garden and the ground was moist.
Her husband wrote: “What days are these that I am going through. And all because of your whims. Is it too difficult to drop me a line, a word in three days?”

There are small porcelain dolls in the living room; each one has a different dress and posture; none of them has faces.

Marriage is the slow consumption of human dignity—it gnaws away at you gradually and quickly you become used to it. The person checking passports looks numb. We are told to take off our shoes. I know now that the knowledge of just one language confines a person. No one in the coffee shop has ever heard of Shushanik Kurghinian. It is March 17, 2004, and one of us is supposed to fly back to Toronto, one to Los Angeles, one to Bloomington, and one lives in the city.
If you are not married, walk in confidence.
She wrote in her notebook: “Our husbands don’t permit us to fall in love with ‘strangers’ without realizing that often they are the strangers to us.” It’s vital to use up the time given to us wisely and not waste it away on matrimonial beds. She also wrote: “One is dead if one doesn’t have any visions for the future.”

In the future they will erect cities with tall glass buildings and people will speak many tongues. She says it’s important to read simultaneously from four different books. Good-bye.

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