It was the darkest of places, yet it was his favorite one. Nothing could stop him from going back to it day after day. Down, where fumes are so dense they make you dizzy. More dizzy every day: textured photo by Marie Wintzer, 9 July 2011
It was the darkest of places, the mysterious laboratory
Of the indifferent man of old. He did not know how to be pleased that he was alive.
He did not know how to hate death. He was not happy to go out.
He was not happy to go back in. The fumes were beginning to affect him.
He started to beat the little dog with a razor strop. She intervened.
But it was no use. There was no hope for him. He went out.
Then he came back in. He did not want the thinking of his heart
To seep into the dark walls of the laboratory. The circus wagon
Loaded with the clumps of soil which had been boiled down into homunculi
Remained parked behind the laboratory. He went in. He came back out. Nothing
Could stop him from returning to the terrible work night after night. A phial
Produced a thin wisp of smoke that curled up in the shape of a pigtail
Before evaporating. He saw but refused to remember. His brow
Was clear, his face calm. Maybe it was a horsewhip. Maybe it was a violin bow.
He breathed in. He breathed out. She waited on the steps of the wagon.
Night fell. He held heaven and earth in his hand. The mother of all breath
Waited impassively for him to finish the great labor. While he worked he felt lost.
The night hours passed. The boat was stored in the ravine, the fishnet in the marsh.
The whole world was stored within the world. There was nowhere else to put it. The little dog
Swam the great river and escaped to freedom. The Dipper which guides the stars found him.
Those things we will never know: textured photo by Marie Wintzer, 9 July 2011