SxS: A Fragmentary Longing


An image caught by the eye of an observing wanderer in “Case Study Number Three” of the “Urban Planning” series in Tim Horvath’s collection Understories:

The scarf of gauzy translucent red, trailing a woman who rolls forward with the certainty of a shore-bound wave.

What a full fragment! We are, like Horvath’s displaced and longing protagonist, trying to catch up with this vision, this woman who moves inexorably by and away. I take pleasure in the travel from that vivid and delicate tail-like scarf to (only for the briefest moment) the woman herself to the ocean wave of unalterable course. We begin the fragment not too far away from her — the bright scarf is right there! — but by the time we’ve arrived at the period, and the sense of incompleteness that the fragment delivers, the woman is gone, replaced by the wave, which I see from behind. On it goes, ahead of me, “shore-bound” (I hear “sure” meeting “certain” here!), and the distance grows between us. I, too, feel the longing.