The rocketry experts were all shot. They had to start again from scratch.
The percentage of works in a minor key
The auditorium which holds more informers than before
The number of enemy newspapers who want an interview
The number of letters received from admirers, each a death sentence
The success of 1, which measures the lack of colour in 2, 3 and 4
The 30,000 citizens of the enemy state for whom I played the approach of totality
The numbers of kidnapped who are decreed never to have been kidnapped
Every number less or more than the Master’s auspicious 9.
A great sea of people moved, solemnly –
soldiers, sailors, workers, students,
new free citizens of the city –
and on their shoulders the coffins,
rocking in time to the funeral song.
They stopped along the route and heard speeches
in the name of freedom, revolution and the dead;
there they had gathered since early morning,
frosted by the cold dawn wind,
clinging to trees and lamp-posts.
Later D. played quietly the notes
of a new tune, recalling the sabre swish
that cut a boy in two. The sound he’d have heard
if he had been – if he was – a witness.
Those on the list include:
first wife; second wife; third wife;
daughter and son;
all of the sisters and one close friend;
his secretary, who was generally loyal;
his young admirers, who had forgotten the war;
the artist who sculpted his marble bust;
those comrades who were, like him, evacuees;
those they call his ‘Muses’ (for shame!);
old companions from the pre-war anxiety;
the critic who will be gaurantor of his posterity;
a seedy conductor; his most fulsome interpreter;
his many collaborators; his few curators;
several families, of inevitable longstanding;
the director of his film; his replacement violin.