“We were late among the living”

October 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

So I wonder why I’ve lived so much of my life in a chair the way I wonder at the daily disappearance of my chin — without surprise — without question or answer — because loneliness is unendurable elsewhere. Here it may be sat through, if not stood. Here it may be occasionally relieved, like a crowded bowel. Here it may be handled like a laboratory mouse, so tenderly it squeaks only from the pressures of its own inner fears. And here that loneliness may be shaped the way the first dumb lump of clay was slapped to speech in the divine grip. We were late among the living, and by the time God got to us ice was already slipping from the poles as if from an imperfectly decorated cake. The stars and planets were out of sync. Uncursed, the serpent was swaying on its tail like an enraptured rope. Haven’t I always maintained that our several ribs were the incriminating print of a bedeviled and embittered fist?

— William H. Gass, The Tunnel

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