“ ‘I once” “found an exit” “from the subway’ ” (“the woman told me”)
“ ‘I once” “found a staircase” “that led to” “an exit” “temporarily
unlocked” “I opened the door to—” “It was an” “Antarctic”
“light, up there” “As if dawn or dusk, but” “neither” “Everyone

wore black” “black cashmere” “discreet diamonds” “had guarded,
dark eyes” “Was it” “the winter holidays?” “I saw” “crushed-red lights”
“reflected” “in snowy puddles” “White lights” “in naked trees”
“For me it” “was frozen time,” “from past pain,” “from a time”

“when I was young,” “before I came beneath,” “came down here—” “before
I’d willingly” “walked away from” “that upper world,” “had left”
“a university—” “I then remembered from” “long before” (“as I stood”
“near the exit”) “a library I’d entered” “in that partial light, in

Spring” “There was grass,” “there were blossoms” “Huge windows”
“looking out on grass” “And shelves” “of books” “all the books there
were:” “The books were decayed matter,” “black & moldy” “Came apart”
“in my hands” “All the books were” “black rot” “Were like mummies”

“More body of” “the tyrant” “It is all his body” “The world is” “his
mummy” “Up there, up there” “Down here it is” “a more desperate”
“decay,” “as if” “rich emotion,” “pain,” “could still transform us”
“despite him” “despite his power, &” “tyrannical” “...ignorance,”

“passing as” “knowledge—” “And so of course I” “re-entered” “re-
entered” “the subway—” “I can’t leave it” “ever” “unless”
“we all leave—’ ”


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