Saturday, October 26, 2013

The mail was waiting for me when I came in from the garden. The usual fire-starters from Suddenlink, Geico, and BedBath&Beyond, but a letter, too, the thin paper necessary for Air Mail both attracting me and repelling me. My life here is quiet, a small pension, a garden plot, and selling eggs and vegetables to the neighbors. The drone of insects in the summer air fills my head, keeps it clear of old thoughts. I traced the fragile edge of the envelope once, twice, walk away but come back. Always, I come back.

The slides look blank to my eyes, black squares in smudged white frames. I can't read the faint cursive on the single sheet inside. Nothing else in the envelope. Now, the envelope...Cyrillic cancellation, Russian stamps, no return address. Who is Zarcagual?

The only thing I am sure of is the seal in red wax on the back of the envelope: a six-leaved palm frond under what I always thought looked like a cloche jar, and the cursive L of the Librarians.

The Librarians! I thought they were all dead. The temple blew up. Nobody could have survived that.

I throw the letter in my traveling bag.

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