Was that the rain falling in his sleep? Or was that the rain falling outside the window? Was it the same rain raining in his sleep and out the window? It was as if in this half-dreaming, half-waking state his mind—but not his mind alone, his body was also implicated—became a vast extension, flat, two dimensional, reaching, perhaps, as far as the edge of the rain cloud that hung over the city. How far was that? When the wind gusted and the makeshift tapa curtains belled and sucked, those perturbations rippled the ridges of dream, they rucked the silks of thought, sent shivers across his skin and then it was all one, the distance to the end of the rain was no distance at all, it was he who lay over the city, over the ocean, over the bed, over the cloud that clouded his mind; and this was where the humdrum hauntings showed their faces: his books and papers specked with rain drops on the bar, the huddle of dark musicians sitting on beer crates, reaching their hands up behind them without looking to shake his, the procession of martyrs from door to door, bound into their starched formalities, deriding all other faiths as they came uselessly a second time in the same door and out the other; and why was the wrinkled penis hanging out the front of someone’s trousers considered an act of fealty by these pilgrims of despair? Why could he not go elsewhere, into the next room perhaps, where masses roared shoulder to shoulder at their pots and sawdust lay on the floor? There seemed no end to horror, as if the consequence of every act of bad faith was exile to this place he could neither be in or leave. And thus the rain, falling in the window, falling in his sleep or not-sleep, whichever it was, laying the dust on the grimy floor, came to seem like a benison which, waking, he might at last receive. Grey wet streets, a fallen frond, melancholy cries of birds. A trickle of liquid spiralling in the cochlea of a shell like something running out his ear. Streets, leaves, birds, a water droplet upon which, in the faint early light, he saw tremble a meniscus of pollen dust.

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