Marlene had once dreamed she was Queen of the Moon. Now her beloved moonlight shines in reflected window shatters, which seem to be a cellar face. Shatters that call her to break last embrace.
On this cold, rain-black night she breaks into this cellar, slipping into some unimagined room. There are books, oh so many, and knowing some, she mouths their titles in soft-lipped wonder.
The Bible, Old Goriot, Madame Bovary … had she been here before? – she cannot break her stare from this impure collection, hidden in this ruined city.
Like Genesis, the snake rules in unabsolved power … or Balzac, misery’s soul to devour … or Flaubert, where dishonest love breaks torn hearts … as train whistles deepen the night, at least she stands here warm.
And books full of pictures like Troy’s long-lost temple, in her beloved moonlight, and a flash of lightning here and there, she reads as confusion surrounds unaware.
Like some sad pristine art, Marlene studies the pictures. Like a soft maiden torn between dragon and sand. Like a sheik unbetrothed in some forgotten harem or chastised in virginous disdained despair. Simple measures intact of forgotten fodder, as spirit of yesteryear smears in the dust in cannonade levity measured in solitude, Marlene rises up through the tears and the rust of serene repetition repeated forthright, to seek vigil here in beloved moonlight.
An old balding man on a carpet-like wingback chair pours wine in his glass, smiling, perhaps grinning, looks her up and down, sparkling, approving. “I am Franz,” he says softly.
He lifts his glass in besotted salute as Marlene bends her fingers in taut feathered cry like the hummingbird flits from some garden destroyed, or an acorn in falling begs soft to its god.
As cloud dreams aswirl almost dizzy her hands, nodding gently polite, she sits down by this man.
There’s this cat, in this book, he’s golden and grey, and he feeds in a garden of cried disarray and he meets up with no-one in subtle display as an oaken-leaf shed lest in summer. As he feels no real longing, he seeks not a friend in this garden sublime where he always has lived and mature like an ox-driven girl from Peru, he succumbs only seldom to underworld twirl. He walks down a path in imagined control, he is simple, e’er thus, ’neath the trembling thistle.
Carnival circles bluster the breeze, make-believe doll clothes dress quiet in the night, shrugging conundrums speak soft yet in ease at the merciless vision of sweet Marlene’s sight – as blood-soaked redemption allows true allure to steal childish memory alone in this girl.
We have not got much time, Franz says to the girl. I have means to obtain clothing and articles befitting our task. Comfortable leather, and dark it shall be, as dark as our mission, Marlene. As your father once worshiped, you shall now be the snake …
Marlene had once dreamed she was Queen of the Moon – vanquished now in little girl folly. The cat awakened has no patience for little girl things or quiet complacence.