Joy, Youth, Innocence, enchanted moments
that burst at his touch, like soap bubbles.
Mr. Hart wanted the ultimate weapon so
he would always be safe. His is a face dis-
eased and covered with pustules, bursting to
communicate a secret so loathsome that few
can learn it and live. They flee before him in
blind panic or drop in their twisted tracks,
tongues protruding to the root, eyes ex-
ploded from their sockets. Perhaps those
eyes saw Smoker.
As Joe moves about the house making tea,
smoking cigarettes, reading trash, he finds
that he is, from time to time, holding his
breath. At such times a sound exhales from
his lips, a sound of almost unbearable pain.
It is not a pain he can locate in bodily terms.
It isn’t exactly his pain. It’s as if some
creature inside him is suffering horribly, and
he doesn’t know exactly why, or what to do
to alleviate the pain, which communicates it-
self to him as a paralyzing fatigue, an