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Penn Central: New Haven Line, by EVE KOSOFSKY SEDGWICK

October 02, 1994

The future moment is the moment of guilt,

and it imposes on one, until it is reached,

the intolerable strain of remaining innocent.

--Northrop Frye

Things race back.

They wander swiftly back

around a distant, maybe invisible point

that lingers along up.

This is the Room where I catch up with my lust

hardly knowing it is mine (but I catch it).

But it combs so straight along the revulsions

of nature, and that's a gesture I know.

Everything racing back toward status origin.

My lust and I rattling with strangers.

This motion over time is a space, that buys me

nothing. Like the love

of a man for his mother, it is not a metaphor,

but there is no making it good, but he carries it

with him,

and now and again it flushes him out, in some

absent sense:

other things may fill him but this suddenly

always makes him


Least of all it works in bed, which is

too relevant to be real. I am putting it gently:

what language thinks it has to do: he does


and it is that bad. This motion, this innocence

that's original and not to be breached or lost

will be neither acted nor suffered: I withdraw

from it

as swiftly as from these lines and apply myself

with the

same steadiness to it. Never in time

because lust is tardy when it comes at all

or forward and importunate with its own


my lust and I grinding down the line divide

the second's pulse.

From "Fat Art Thin Art" by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. (Duke University Press: $15.95; 160 pp.) 1994. Reprinted by permission.

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