Gown Vanity

by dschapman

We walked among the moonlit columns of the ruins of the ancient planter civilization. A place as strange and mystic as was ancient Greece or Rome. I roamed among the trees like an Etruscan, painting my grinning face in the caves that I slept in, and having my way with a goat.

In my sleep I invented literature and when I woke up I wrote down a story called “Tropic of Cancer.” But it was not very good and it embarrassed me so I threw it in the Aegean Sea like Theseus and promised that I would do better. Meanwhile the titans and god-kings drew their limestone into perfect shapes in the desert and monuments rose out of the earth as if summoned above by the hands of celestial magicians. “I will make a monument, too,” I said, “Because I am faithful, too.”

The idea to build a monument took over like a cancer and soon I was practically ecstatic, building an armature out of rebar as tall as my house. “It will be a ziggurat, a totem, a cross, a pyramid, an obelisk, a tower, a pylon – the sum of all my knowledge, all of my humanity, the total resolution of a lifetime!” They watched me as I wrapped my arms and legs around the base and rubbed my face in it. “I do not care, I just do not care, I could not care if I tried to.”