Not to be looked at, that was the only relief to be hoped for, because she was enfolded in a body like an awful suit, everyone mistook the suit for herself and she had not been led to guess that any other suits existed. She climbed down a slope of cholla and brittlebush to a stony riverbed, where she settled between sun-warmed boulders like a snake and shrank low when steps passed on the trail above, afraid of the glance that would once again impose the body on her, trapping the filmy, unbounded portion of herself back inside a stupid shirt and pants, stupid limbs, bone and hair.
In the city she took the biggest, blackest, baggiest coat on offer and wore it around like an event horizon, trusting it to swallow any gaze that might drift her way.
Sex was a farce best not attended.
Torso of Artemis/Floyd the Barber
Du mußt dein Leben ändern
She shaved feeling it to be a parody of the truly desired operation, which would be to whittle away all extraneous matter as if she were a wax figure reducible to some other, more realized shape, which by Michelangelo’s conceit stood already latent inside her.
Sooner murder an infant in its cradle than nurse unacted desires.
—Blake, “Proverbs of Hell”
It had come to her early, whether instilled from without or distilled from within, that the most shameful thing in life was to be caught out expressing a desire for anything more extravagant than eggs on toast, anything that could not be fairly well immediately and invisibly granted; the fulfillment of larger desires was not possible in her world, or possible only through sacrifice and stratagem, by an arduous exchange of moves and countermoves asking more effort than she could possibly command, the first of which—to express the desire, and so advance an opening pawn—would commit her to proceed with the rest, grimly mounting one defense after another to be ground down by an opponent whose eventual triumph was already legible on the board, set in the disposition of its squares before a single piece was shifted from its ranks. Better not to play. Better to shut up that infant desire in some narrow apartment of her hidden heart.