On Antiquity

by gm

Sandy Pool


I won’t be around forever, A’s wife said.  One day I’m going to die.  And when I’m dead you’ll have to rely on yourself to take out the garbage or remember to change your underwear.  And while I’m at it, she added, would it be so hard to take the dog for a fucking walk once in awhile?  A knew this was true. For weeks he’d been inside, fretting and writing a tragic poem.  Writing a tragic poem was very hard work, he said.  This was the truth, but the truth was also that A was tragically depressed.  A few weeks ago, he’d received a rather gloomy prophecy that he would die by being crushed by a falling object.  He figured as long as he stayed inside, things would be o.k.  A’s wife didn’t understand this.  What is it with all you sad-sack poets she asked.  Can’t you get a real job?  Isn’t it bad enough you’ve turned our sons into tragic poets?  Eventually, A felt guilty.  He changed his underwear, and took out the garbage.  Then he put the dog on a leash.  When he got outside, the sun was blasting through the trees. A stood outside for a long time looking tentatively into the clouds.  For a while there was only light, then, only dark.  Valerius thinks he was killed by a tortoise dropped by an eagle, but no one is absolutely sure.  At his funeral, his wife said A. was a good man, but a great writer.  She quoted him beautifully:  Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.  It’s been 15 years since that funeral, and A’s wife still can’t forgive him.  Who can blame her?  Grief does funny things to people.