The Rapt, Hard, Small Beak

At any rate, there is a rolling, all-pervasive upwash of dread, one great, hot, shooting surge of dread-sensation through mind and body, a sense—perhaps?—of Time, carrying a body from Sunday night to Monday morning, to every Monday morning after that, and on and on, willy-nilly, to extinction, a mountainload of moments forcing the body from now to then, from drab to drab, from exposure to exposure, this progress, this exasperating, non-negotiable, obliterating motion forward into the dark—the dark what? Was a body (at age five) too new for it? Could it be saved from it? Whom to implore? What enemy forces, where? And what about the sheer searing thrill of it—boiling-hot bathwater—this could not be denied: a brilliance shot up through it, and the body fairly sang. Then it was gone. She took the shock as a lullaby and did not expect anything different. When does that begin, the expecting anything different? Is there a childhood sublime? Does it end where expectation begins? For the sublime is punctured by egotism, by the rapt, hard, small beak of my self demanding to be me. My self finding the words for that. If I can find the words I can make it real, she thought …


~ Anne Carson, “Flaubert Again” (2018)

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