the mysteries, robert mcgill

by br

i wonder about the mysteries of women: women staying, women leaving, women losing (being lost – is there a difference). i wonder about the men who want them to stay, leave, be found. i wonder about their mysteries. are they (always) disconnected? what does it mean to know and not understand? what if having isn’t holding?

i wonder about tigers outside a small Ontario town, tigers rescued in order to be caged on a wildlife reserve. i wonder what it means to reserve the wildness of life. can I make a reservation? am i too wild? not enough? what wild has life that can avoid our tendency to hold, set aside, keep back (for ourselves)? if save means taming, then unsave. let wild. it’s too easy, but not easy enough. this space between us. where i have the right to rescue or liberate or whatever name it is for bringing you into my circle and calling you (friend, companion, exhibit, specie). you have the right for me to do this.

it is absurd that a woman should drown as she rescues a tiger falling through the ice of a bay in Ontario – and it is not. why shouldn’t this be the logical outcome of takings and reservings and turnings-to-go-but-turning-stay? she was not hunted by men. he was not malicious in the act. they met as species. i wonder if their scrabbling might be the same, if ice is always so uncertain and life so slippery. this is trite in the face of death. but i wonder. am I relieved at her death, its absurd naturality? as a lost woman, she is uncaged – not trapped by man. as a loose tiger, he is unknowing – not reserved for man.

i wonder about the darkness of the mystery, cracking through its own ice, in and out of caves. if rockets are freed from caves, do they understand the unreality of their shadows? if philosophy is an allegory of form. if literature is its opposite. if men can climb rocks, unaided by rope. if the darkest secret of the mystery is not what happened to her, but to him. it can never be known in its entirety. there is no outside the cave.

talk to me about focalization, point of view, whose narrative it isn’t. in a world this densely populated by subjectivities, names and narratives do not necessarily correlate. they might relate, but only if the cows are off the runway. what could you eat, if you were that hungry? who would tell your story, if you couldn’t take off your mask?