Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

The Damned

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

The Damned

Article excerpt

With an ease considerably past what even we'd expected,

the brush took fire. The birds unhid themselves, flew

abruptly elsewhere, like shame when, from the wrong end

of a foundering argument, it at last lets go. Is it risk, for

example, if what gets lost goes unregretted? Or if there

is any risk, then where, except awhile in the head? it all

keeps feeling far, and then farther away, he said-meaning,

I think, that part of him that not only, once, could have

picked the one crow out in a cast of ravens, but had parsed,

with no apparent effort, distinctions more difficult than that,

because ever-shifting: belief, and the will to believe, and

superstition ... It was a bit like that moment when the energy

required to keep a life from faltering starts to outweigh

the desire to, and now slowly descends-like being able

to watch that: the fire; and him, not exactly not talking, just

untalkative, and as if vestigial-to himself, the rest of us-

also very small. …

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