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He glanced around to check if the treacherous godshad really given him the reward promised for his accomplished songand there she was, Eurydice restored, perfectly naked and fleshedin her rhyming body again, the upper and lower smiles and eyes,the line of mouth-sternum-navel-cleft, the chime of breasts and hipsand of the two knees, the feet, the toes, and that expressionof an unimaginable intelligence that yoked all these with a skillshe herself had forgotten the learning of: there she was, with him once morejust for an instant as she vanished. And then he heard her from behindthe invisible veil, absence: a shrill and batlike but lexical indictment.Why had he violated the divine command, why, when he had seizedall song to himself and robbed her of power to open her own oblivion?It grew in volume and now seemed to spew from an insane old mother with one breasthanging like a huge withered testicle from a rent in her weathered gown,who was being watched by a tall woman, copper-helmet-coiffed, richly suited in salmon colour,a mythical allusion, since salmon were long extinct in the bays and rivers here:songs never brought them anymore. The young restrained breasts and the old free oneoppressed him equally and he went to live among men, waiting for the crazyand the competent to join forces and come for him with their scissors.Orpheus listened patiently to my poem and when it quieted he said to me:That wasn't it at all. I sang outward from my face to blue spaces between clouds,to fern fronds, and men and women sipped my song as you drink from a stream going by.What I sang is lost in time, you don't kmow what it was, all you have is your ownold stories about me. And if women tore me into pieces, maybe that only signifieseach one keeps part of my body, which is melody among visible things.

© Moritz Albert Frank