Szczecin, Poland

FROM ‘MARA, MARIETTA’
Intermezzo 14: Izolda

Izolda’s a girl I met on the train, coming to Szczecin from Berlin. She’s a student at the university here, studying geosciences (coastal morphodynamics, the sedimentary continuum from river systems to continental margins). The sculptural lines of her face contrasted with the easy fall of her hair; her feminine earrings with the masculine cut of her clothes. We talked about Gombrowizc and Żuławski, Stanisław Lem and Grotowski, and all through the conversation we knew we’d end up in bed: When I opened the taxi door she got right in without a word being said. I wasn’t wearing white, but that’s how it happened.

Modigliani, Portrait of a Polish Woman, 1919

Geology Museum, University of Szczecin

̶  You’re hanging on to a shadow, Sprague. She’s gone.
̶  No Izolda. Marietta is the flame in me that casts the shadow you see.
̶  What?
̶  The wick that draws the wax is language drawing memory. As long as I’m alive, Marietta will live in me.
̶  The wick that draws the wax?
̶  Come, I’ll show you.

Saying that, I took her in my arms and pronounced her name: Izolda! Leaping up from my solar plexus, the flame that carried the vocative slipped between her lips. Joyous in exhausting our bodies, joyous in feeling them to be inexhaustible, we drove each other deeper and deeper into exaltation: To there where the sediment of memory is washed into the sea.

Geology Museum, University of Szczecin