The nose replies (a homage)

– Page 5 –

‘…but at this point everything became so completely enveloped in mist it is really impossible to say what happened afterwards.’

Come on G! We both know what happened next. Nina rushed over to her father lying on the lino. She needed to be sure and laid her head on his cooling chest. Then it was done. Her apron hit the floor, she snatched her purse, kissed me as she passed and was out the door.

I caught a glimpse of her at the Murrays terminal, her head against the glass as the coach, with a spit of pneumatics and a growl of gears, started down that long road out of the Capital.

And there I stood amongst the fumes and autumn leaves, the chill of another winter already in the wind.

Perhaps it was for the best.

After all what could I, a fugitive nose, offer a woman like that? A life on the run, living hand to mouth, never settling anyplace. Is that what I wanted for her, for us? And K? Imagine him in his old age, a blanket round his shoulders and with that stupid beak still taped to his cheeks. He was never going to get that promotion or any gold leaf lettering on any glass door in the Ministry without my help.


G got the final part right. K and I were reunited and after a while reattached, he to me and I to him, seamless.

Despite statements from several witnesses, the police case was impossible and no charges were brought. (A detective interviewed K for several hours while his assistant moved the desk-light about looking for any tell-tale joins.)

The Scandinavian prosthesis, the tape and powder is still in a drawer downstairs. K thinks he might need it again.

Maybe he’s right, perhaps one day she will call.


I still dream of her.
My favourite is a scene with rain.
Temperate water streaking
through the flour on us both,
on her arms and her cheeks ‘til it runs
a slurry onto the floor and reveals
flows and deltas of clean pink skin.

Sometimes it rains until we’re
all clean and beautiful and innocent
dripping together like a forest.

Sometimes there’s more and more revealed:
ribs heaving, teeth clenched, sweat in golden light.
But the closer I look, the further we recede,
replaced by actors line-reading.
Empty signifiers, stand-ins for our love.


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