To be honest, I thought the whole thing was far-flung; she was much too young, but the way she clung to me, the way I found I hung across her shoulder as though every step were a rung on the way to some profound shelter, as though we could escape from the dung of her father’s flaying fields and yet it was clearly that to which we clung, as though to some green lung from which otherwise there could be no respite, or as though we had otherwise sung of hope and fear and taken the mad risk of becoming unstrung, the lyre ceasing to respond, strung though it was to the best of our ability, including her with the lips bee-stung, and at this point who could dare mention the tongue. Who could mention the tongue. Who could mention the tongue …

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