A new letter from Henriette!
(Read her previous letter and my reply in bones, candy wrappers, a winnowing basket.)
Henriette libre! Chávez became a bird, and I emulated him, slipping through the bars of my cage. For his corpse my guards were sent to herd the queues of mourners clogging the streets. I got my coat and walked right out, stood beneath the red portico of my prison de bellas artes. Nearby, a confused man (at the wrong museum). I smothered him with my coat, and stole his clothing. Left him naked, recumbent as an odalisque upon the threshold of the museum.
I wish I could have stayed to watch him come-to, humiliated and exposed.
Do you still measure time with grains of sand? Caracas is no desert. I will learn to blow rings from a pipe. Ceci n’est pas une pipe. It is my life, lovely halos of smoke, disintegrating.
You ask if I ever learned how to love? I try to love myself.
Here’s a photo of my new self. I mean, my disguise.
On the lam,
Henriette was always the wilder of us two. Some cruel justice in her…smothering a man with her coat! But she escaped she escaped!
What kind of bird is Chávez? Maybe we have mutual friends. We could convince him to give you a visa and you could visit us here in the obelisk? I’m not sure how you’d get up but maybe you can rig something with smoke rings and your coat? I have bones here–I cooked a turkey for Thanksgiving, and kept the bones because I didn’t want to upset black swan by throwing them into the marsh. They’re in my sugar bowl. You can have them if you want.
I put your picture in my scrapbook with a collage that is not a pipe.
If you are seen, I hope you will be appreciated.
Your (treacherous-less) friend,