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The Obscene Mrs. D


- by Hilda Hilst -

(Translated by Dawn Jordan)


I saw myself separated from the center of something I don't know how to name, but this won't keep me from the sacristy, incestuous theophaganite, no way, I Hillé also called by Ehud Mrs. D, I Nothingness, I Nobody's Name, I searching for the light in a silent blindness, sixty years looking for the meaning of things. Dereliction Ehud used to say to me, Dereliction-----for the last time, Hillé, Dereliction means forsakenness, abandonment, and because you ask me every day and don't remember, from now on I'll call you Mrs. D. D for Dereliction, do you hear? Forsakenness, Abandonment, from the beginning of time the soul in emptyhood, sought for names, groped in corners, creases, caressing folds, who knows maybe in the cords, the trimming, in the threads, in the twistings, in the crotch of the pants, in the knots, in the visible dailinesses, in the most minute absurdity, in the minimals, some day the light, the understanding of all of us the destiny, someday I will understand Ehud
understand what?
this life and death thing, these whys
listen, Mrs. D, instead of these dealings with the divine, these luxuries of thought, how about if you made me a cup of coffee, eh?
And he touched me, ran his fingers down my hip, thighs, rested his mouth on my pubic hairs, in the deepest part of me, Ehud's hard mouth, fine moist and open when it touched me, I said look, wait, I want so much to talk to you, no, stop it right now, Ehud, please, I want to talk to you, to talk about the death of Ivan Illitch, about the loneliness of this man, these nothingnesses of the day to day that go on eating up the best part of us, I wanted to talk about the burden of growing old, of the disappearance, of this thing that doesn't exist yet is raw, alive, Time. Now that Ehud is dead it's going to be harder to live in the space under the stairs, a year ago when he was still alive, when I took over this place in the house, a few words still, he going up the stairs
Mrs. D, do you intend to live under the stairs permanently? Are you listening to me, Hillé? Look, I don't want to upset you, but the answer isn't under there, do you hear? It's not under the stairs nor up here, on the top landing, can't you understand there is no answer? No, I didn't understand then and I don't understand now, in someone's wisp of air, in a breath, in a more convulsive eye, in a scream, in a misstep, in the smell who knows of dry things, in cow dung, some day, some day, some day [….]

Translated by Dawn Jordan. Unpublished manuscript copyright 1982.