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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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Proust Creates a Facebook Account



Certainly he’d have signed up, his cold fingertips
tapping at the laptop propped against his knees,
typing in a secret password
he had fussed over first on paper –
or perhaps having rung his bedside bell
for dear Celeste to bring his coffee
he’d have asked his housekeeper
to help him set up his account;
but once he’d somehow become a member
what a pathway to the past this would be!
for his memories were mere shards of lost time,
mind-scraps of some long-vanished Swann with a cigar,
some Gilberte in winter on the Champs-Elysees,
an Albertine on her bicycle at the beach,
all fading fragments he would now fill out,
bring up to date, substantiate,
and he could learn of loved ones’ online fates,
and friend them and like what they liked
without ever leaving his bed;
and here at last, as Celeste returned to her kitchen
to place another log on the hearth,
coaxing smoke and glow from smoldering embers,
his tremulous index finger
hovered above the touchpad,
pausing for a fragile moment
on the cusp of something sublime
as he had done so many times:
at the threshold of a duchess’ drawing room,
or in a theater-box as the curtain rose
on an actress he adored,
forgetting as he always did how the fire
of anticipation turned into
the ashes of disillusion;
and the computer screen gleamed,
and his pale hand which seldom saw sunshine
came down as the kitchen grate filled with flames,
and a new society welcomed him into its web.


                                                      -Barth Landor