we lived off the fat of the land while the land grew lean around us. and so we sat in a fusion bistro in culver city that had once been a bank and ordered the yolk-free fritata. your young colleagues, the conservators, i murmured to eduardo, are they still nipping at your heels? oh no, he said, they’re biting. eduardo, who had entered the museum as a young man with a thick black ponytail, he had drunk it up, the aquablue pool and the arching peristyle of italian marble. now after a lifetime they wanted him gone and he wanted out too because time had changed them into something that was the exact opposite of how they had started out. and susie and tim who rolled in each others arms and danced at conferences split up and the house they built was without permits and they had never paid the taxes and now he lives in his truck out on the street somewhere in the LA heat and she and her daughters are glad to see him gone, because they’d all had enough of what he had become.
you don’t love me anymore
no she said
and you’ll never love me again
no she said, not ever again.
so john and carol stay together because of the studio, and alec’s wife the dean left him after thirty years for a triple murderer who found jesus and jeff used superglue on the gash on his forehead because he couldn’t afford insurance and mark lost all his teeth and married a famous writer and sophie got cancer and moved back to atlanta with her parents and everyone worries out of a kind of desperate longing for her, beloved child trapped inside this desperate life. phil died after a long illness and allyn retired and my mom passed away on an autumn evening which was always her favorite time of the year and my dad sits alone in his chair at ninety-three presiding over silence. susan wrote songs for her grandchildren and kept the silver bars in her safety deposit box and andy lives in a cabin deep in the indiana woods and the townie dan hooked up with every saturday finally left him to stew in his house with three bathrooms that do not work. dave had a knee replacement and then another and still could not bend enough to do the work of laying electric cables beneath the houses in the rain turning now to sleet as winter rolls around again. jay bought a mercedes and kirk made a walnut slide guitar and audra travelled with her lover to france when she really did not want to go. hod wrote his book and calandra went off to school and peter became a household name that was never to be uttered inside his own abandoned house. and bernard and hal had a successful show and scott sold the houses down the street to a crew of cigar-smoking developers from glendale and chris burden constructed one last pool of floating light that buzzed around the gallery and donna leapt out of an airplane high above the channel islands and i set foot inside the circle of spinning ancient mountains once again.
fixed in orbit, adrift in time. from starlight to diadem to dust we were always that banished desert parish, some lost and trembling part of one another.