27 January 2008

Julio Cortazar

[from Another Republic: 17 European and South American Writers edited by Charles Simic and Mark Strand, 1985]

The Lines of the Hand

From a letter thrown on the table a line comes which runs across the pine plank and descends by one of the legs. Just watch, you see that the line continues across the parquet floor, climbs the wall and enters a reproduction of a Boucher painting, sketches the shoulder of a woman reclining on a divan, and finally gets out of the room via the roof and climbs down the chain of lightning rods to the street. Here it is difficult to follow it because of the transit system, but by close attention you can catch it climbing the wheel of a bus parked at the corner, which carries it as far as the docks. It gets off there down the seam on the shiny nylon stocking of the blondest passenger, enters the hostile territory of the customs sheds, leaps and squirms and zigzags its way to the largest dock, and there (but it's difficult to see, only the rats follow it to clamber aboard) it climbs onto the ship with the engines rumbling, crosses the planks of the first-class deck, clears the major hatch with difficulty, and in a cabin where an unhappy man is drinking cognac, and hears the parting whistle, it climbs the trouser seam, across the knitted vest, slips back to the elbow, and with a final push finds shelter in the palm of the right hand, which is just beginning to close around the butt of a revolver.

Another Republic: 17 European and South American Writers

1 comment:

  1. Marvellous writing - thanks for a real treat, as recommended by William Bain.. WQith Best Wishes Scott www.scotthastie.com