Grow­ing old. Your body’s no longer your own. Which is some­thing you al­ways knew. But now it’s what you live. It’s not just the parts you’ve cashed in for a bit more breath­ing space but the dead pos­si­bil­i­ties. The ce­les­tial sphere turns, it’s the phos­phor of imag­i­na­tion, what we see when we close our eyes. But noth­ing re­turns.

Noth­ing re­turns but the glow of the mi­cro­scope that turns in the eye, that dizzies us with its as­pi­ra­tions, its liq­uid dance, its glob­u­lar script that prom­ises rev­e­la­tions that writhe and turn and flee—sa­cred re­runs in which we turn, never to re­turn.

Never to re­turn is the fate of sol­diers with bad luck and trav­ellers way­laid for their pass­ports and their dol­lars on the way back to the ho­tel to sit in an air-con­di­tioned lounge, bare arms on the cold, damp leather. You read about it in the pa­per, the daily in­signif­i­cance of hu­man be­ings. “It gives one pause,” you say to your­self, and re­al­ize how for­giv­ing are the il­lu­sions of lan­guage, the sub­terfuges of metaphor, that al­low us to imag­ine some still point of con­scious­ness around which, if any­thing moves, it’s only a dis­tant un­seen cir­cum­fer­ence.

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