Living in Subtitles
In The Interpretation of Dreams, Magritte
has painted a four-paned window. All four panes
are black. On each a superimposed image.
Under each image, a handwritten label.
He has labeled a bay horse’s head “the door.”
A wall clock whose black hands tell us the time is
still 12:18 is “the wind.” A white pitcher
is “the bird.” A brown valise is “the valise.”
Dreaming is living in a foreign country
where one doesn’t speak the language. So Magritte
kindly supplies subtitles. Since my mother
started dying, every window I look out
goes black. Through the black windows I see the trees
are subtitled “Ferris wheels.” The sun becomes
“the discotheque.” The streets are “opera hats.”
My mother remains “my mother.” She looks out
her black, four-paned window and sees the moon rise,
luminous luminaria that it is.