Life of a Star by Jane Unrue
a selection from Life of a Star by Jane Unrue
I wish I had a better story for you. After all, no sweeter way to quiet the face or calm the heart, soothe body after making love with wives or girlfriends, pick-ups, hookers, doesn’t matter. Best that I can offer is a reacquaintance with an incidental figure from a tale too old to be remembered well. There was at one time, far away, a girl who had been buried underground, no casket, sack. This site was not within that famous ornamental garden into which the people flock; at this time, it was just an empty stretch of unnamed land beneath the endless sky. Of course you can’t recall the circumstances or location of her burial. No one can. Just scan the surface of the landscape for a spot illuminated as if by a single star. Please go there, dig her out, and hold her filthy body up before you: this will cause her eyes to open. Looking deep into the gaze of you, this girl, remarkably well preserved, transmits a secret: gardens nestled within gardens: dark and intricate configurations of appealing shrubs and trees divided by thin moonlit gravel pathways. Close your eyes and think about your youth, your family home, your family garden, city garden, and the gardens that you used to dream of touring, and reflect on all of this as if in concentrating you can somehow shield these precious places from obliterations soon to come. This girl has brought you out of where you were and into here, the image in her eyes, depositing you within a narrow corridor of trees. Walk slowly toward the hedge; turn right and follow along until you come upon an opening. You’d like to enter it (you sense a pool somewhere inside, perhaps a small pavilion, families gathered), but before you take a step, the opening has already closed. You turn a corner, find another: same: as if it was not ever there. Again, again, and what these closings of the openings in the hedge reveal to you is that this garden into which you’ve found yourself transported
Maybe it was when your gaze departed from the gaze of
her, whoever it is who shares your bed tonight?
was just a fragment of some sad forgotten’s character’s
broken, buried dream.
Retracing your steps along the corridor of trees, to search for an escape look up and see if you can find a dirty-looking star above this dead-eyes image of a garden conjured as if just to keep you from returning to the woman underneath you in your bed and telling her that it was only sadness for the many losses in your life, the many tragedies you’ve seen, that caused your gaze to wander the wall.
Life of a Star by Jane Unrue is available from Burning Deck.