(GJ) Canto XV (p.6, ll. 1-4).

There are ghosts in the mirror ….. Candles! Candles! 

Giacomo the Seducer huddles beneath Amalia Popper’s window. He is no Romeo or Cyrano. Sheathed against the dark, using the shadows as his blind, he hides his gothic presence.

A blurred shape passes across the room. Joyce calls to his Mephostopholes to conjure more light: “Candles! Candles!” More light would not sharpen the vision even for eyes truer than his. SHE is a ghost, already gone to Fiorenza, or the theater. Time twists for the stalker. Some events unfold in real-time. Space-time sometimes leaps forward to after her departure. It returns. 

SHE suspects Joyce already, and the Maestro’s motives have revealed themselves through a relentless series of accidental encounters during his pursuit.

A poem (“Hello”) by Naomi Shihab Nye tells of a rat that boldly leaves evidence of his shared occupancy. The vermin signs with pointed teeth, “each fruity turned-up face/ knowing you will read/this message and scream.” The rat could enjoy an old, secret, long life in a matted nest surrounded by its species. Instead, the rat delights obscenely in making his presence “ineluctable.” The mistress will never enter a room without a stick to bash the intruder.

The rat might be anywhere, but he is where least expected, in the drawer, where the mistress keeps the candles that promise light and security. The rat could better hide in the fog that paints the window pan or could skitter along the walls unnoticed and still be well fed. He (or they) insists on coming brazenly to HER table for HER attention and HER food. Despite a small fascination at his boldness, SHE will away. He will skulk back to the matted nest, or the jaws of a trap will crush him. 

A link to “Hello” by Naomi Shihab Nye:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/48600/hello-56d229f7d965b

don ward July 30, 2020

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