Jack,

The nearly quarter-moon had already set in the small hours of May 18th, so I imagine (or perhaps remember) that the sky seemed dark, and unnaturally lit by the glow of the stars.  By two in the morning, there was only light traffic on South Park Road.  The wind blew soft through the trees to the south.  Ian knelt in his kitchen, stubborn and unrelenting, to pray for the life to be choked from his body.

I neither celebrate nor lament the gentle offerings of poets made in prayer, at night, in kitchens.  I don't read their notes.  I don't suffer the loss of them from this world.  I know that the water comes, low at first, and dark.  It swarms with the Word, and a man like Ian believes he can save himself if he drinks fast enough, but eventually the volume of the water becomes violent, the Word lost to the rushing certainty of God, and he runs, or he drowns.

To open yourself to the Words means in time you'll be consumed by them.  As a poet, I believe Ian understood that.  But when the Words came for him, to take him that night, I didn't expect him to pull me through after him.

Did you know the world is made of buttonholes?  Nothing any more or less complicated than that; buttonholes, like doorways into the other rooms of this great House.  Ian prayed for the water to take him, and found the buttonhole through which he needed to slip to reach the world just beyond this one.

And like breaking glass, I followed him.  Like the city which has lost power.  Like the girl who learns she was born a god, I was pulled to the deadland of the moon, the snow falling black from a violet sky.  Where it landed, it froze in crystal patterns which lightened gray, and white again in the deepest folds of the caves on the mountains.

In these wastes, we become little more than bone, sustained by the Word.  Ian's medications, and his pathology, and the smell of his neck when he woke, choked with a sour sweat, all vanish.  His fear of pity vanishes, or is blown away in this hailstorm.  Did I remember myself then, or is it only that I remember myself now?

Ian prayed for rain, and the rain came.  It carried away all of him that was not an Instrument to speak the truth - a Virgin.  The unbroken and endless part of his soul, remaining forever at the bottom of drains and urinals and the dark spaces under hedges.  The rain carried him here, to where that soul could be bleached clean again as a jawbone battered by the desert sand.

So here I am.  The bone of me sheared clean of my excess, my blue sweater, my pin shaped like a fly.  You’ve held a lot of people in your arms, Jack, and touched their flesh with the soft plain of your palm, but what about their bones?  I’m a dry and unchangeable thing.  A slip of ribbon blanched to a nameless color meandering across a tuneless waste.  In the salt crystals of frozen snow, Ian oxidizes black as his glower.

"You are here because you are Inspiration," he reminds me, the dark pools of shadows moving across the matte black of his skin.  Reminding me that somewhere close to this place, we all serve a purpose the way Improvisation and Drama do.  "You must always be here when a poet dies."

"Annik... is a muse," I suppose at him, drawing the Word in the snow with my finger.  We might invent the word muse together, in this place.  I crouch on the ground, quiet as the stars, and heavy as the expanse of the sky.  The gap in each of his teeth betray he is, at his core, a key used to bury a great secret, or reveal one.

"I dreamed I was here before," I tell him.  "The night you... we were in a school."

The word school crosses slow and foreign the space between us, causing his head to turn, as if he can hear a voice on the wind.

"School?" he asks me, and we look together at the rising earth, distant over the horizon.

It's a strange idea, that binds us back to the earth of our memories, and anchors us back in a place we can remember time.  Bells.  Homework.  Prom.

That world in the house above us is still uncoiling in the kaleidoscope, and if we move slightly, we both become a part of it again; the glass of this world ethereal and inconstant.  Annik's sweater comes back, Ian's tear-stains.  The smell in the air says he's spilled turpentine on the floor, and it's been decades since the police sealed off Barton Street.  Like anything else in Gray House, it comes tinged with the bitter sense of forgery: we might be gods but we are young gods, who know nothing and will never learn.

"Eve?" Matthew asks me, his eyes the same terrified roundness I've seen looking out from under Ian's straight fringe.

Rosie enters the studio where Matthew paints, and takes no notice of the soot in the air, or the paint thinner on the floor.  She whispers at us a half-second before we hear the gunshot from the next room.

"Adam has a gun.  He's going to kill hi-"

Comment