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   a n    e p i s o d e

--- G R E G O R Y   D J A N I K I A N

"Betrayed, I am betrayed!" he says,
wobbling in a drizzle of rain
with his coat unbuttoned and no hat on.

We find him in the middle of the street, his shoes in a puddle, the soaked city all about him.

"She's left for good, driven off with my life!" he cries out to the tallest buildings as we try to maneuver around him.

Maybe she's miles away in a breezy convertible, maybe she's managed to go as far as the other side of town--

but what a spectacle he is among us now with his arms upraised and his mouth stuck open to the sky like a pullet's.

"The end of the world," he shouts flinging off his coat and shirt, and water dripping from his head like a circlet of tears.

Won't someone steer him gently home before the whitecoats come with winches and manacles and straps to keep our peace, and keep him quiet?

We press closer together, one body smugly against the other, pull up our collars against the cold and wet: Not our fault, we think, moving on, not our life, or what our life will come to.

We walk a long time hearing him behind us, his voice around the corner, or finding us now from over the rooftops, and just as we feel him bearing down too quickly and turn to look

we see there's no one there, no one at all following us home, and no one putting the key to our lock, and entering, and knowing where everything is.

© crossconnect 1995-1998 |
published in association with the |
university of pennsylvania kelly writers house |