by Anne Carson

copyright © 2013 by Anne Carson

I AM VERY he says tilting into the room and stops. Happy

to see you man but I’m not
sure you’re real. Tell me
you’re real. 4NO looks at
him upside down then
unfolds from his
headstand. Bad night?
says 4NO. But Sad is
straying about the room
touching all the chairs one
by one. Chairs he says. I
missed you. His voice is
soft. His eyes drift off.
4NO watches him
fragilely. Every molecule
of Sad and Sad’s bad
future is advancing
through 4NO’s retinal
surface. Like perfect
works of art they form a
sparkling flood. They
saturate him and
confiscate the present
moment. He closes his
eyes against this
unbearable excess and
gathers his mind to a
point. It breaks through
the white. He opens his
eyes. At ease soldier he
says to Sad. Nobody’s
here yet. I’m just
stretching. Sad smiles and
then forgets not to. The
smile stays on his face.