At the Aphasiac’s Table: Archive Anxiety.docx


I am putting away my term. Yes, I am. A little late, but that’s the kind of term it was: things spill over, the boxes will not hold them. The course files are not yet in their folders, not yet touched by the mild boredom of order. The season has turned and the objects on my worktable now stare back reproachfully like jetsam on a beach: pens, pencils, piles of books and papers, a terracotta bowl containing paper clips, a small crescent-moon tin from the 1950s with the image of a football player of the period, a half-finished jigsaw of a seventeenth-century Dutch interior, a toy skunk, a newly bound dissertation, a two-inch tall baobab tree lying on its side, a Venetian glass paperweight, a postcard of the Freud House in London and another of one of J.M. Gandy’s cut-away architectural views, an open wooden box from the Crescent dairy in Montreal containing cards and letters, a split ammonite from Madagascar (late Jurassic), five miniature foreign language dictionaries in a small red leather box, postage stamps from Romania and the Dominican Republic, another paperweight in the form of an iron lizard, a scattering of cigarette cards from the 1920s, and a glazed earthenware bird that whistles when you blow into its tail.

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