That time is past/And all its aching joys are now no more,/And all its dizzy raptures.
And then the goldfish, whose bowl had been placed mistakenly on the radiator,
started leaping out of the water, landing on a heap of old Ms. magazines piled on
an end table next to them.
(Oh wow, says the author, a woman in her twenties whose life has not yet really
organized itself around a theme, those fish! They’re just like me—bravely
ideological, flashing their gaudy appendages awkwardly and proud beyond the no
longer habitable waters of captivity . . . )
A woman discovering an unfinished poem in a desk drawer after thirty-some
years thinks, I’m not just this person, full of regret and self-doubt, who writes right
now—I am also one who has written—one for whom the whole world once winked
(The fantasy of authenticity is sublime, isn’t it? The farmhouse outside Siena
retaining a couple of original stones in its entryway; the expensive Moroccan
chair “once carried on the back of a camel.”)
In the end the goldfish weren’t very much like her, the suicidal riot grrrl who still
occasionally flashes some gaud. And the act of dying for a cause, I have to
admit, has lost almost all of its ability to hold my attention..