Always indulging pathos. Always aiming for the roaring fires of the heart-as-oven, the heart-as-sun, the heart-as-a-nuclear-bomb. Chrisoula looks tired - more tired than usual - and I hide in corners and odd hours, buried in books and chewing pens. The man who loved his son was able to beat his son - badly at times - and so his son grows up with unworkable plans for world peace and the public roles of women. I'm responsible - I know that - and every morning swear an oath and pray a prayer not to make things worse. Yet winter is what insists it will not pass, even as the days lengthen. A long time ago dreams appeared in which I led many people over a river, baked bread and made tea for a woman whose excellent poems were clear and bright like cardinals. I danced with strangers in forgotten mountain villages. The Lord was near always, reassuring and proud, like a father whose children bless him without prompting. Yet I also drowned the poor, broke promises made in the confessional and lied in public about who I loved. At a late juncture, I see these stories as the products of an unwilling exile who's scared to risk going home. Close to the familiar border, he develops an odd stutter, forgets he can read maps, and sleeps with women who have their own reasons to be distracted. Chrisoula says at night when I come to bed: "that is one way it happens. There are others."