The Last Fire

Dea Loher

Artwork by June Glasson


Love love love
Does it have to be like this
As they marvel at
Breathing, being able to exhale
In the presence of the other
The windows wide open
Light breeze sun
Let me see you

Time does not pass
Time stands still
We stop it
They fall into the moment
The moment is endless

The dead child lying under the earth, never forgotten
Always remembered, too
The humus, growing on him
Does not forget

They move on to foreign regions of the body
Rabe with his gauze bandaged fingers
Makes Susanne's naked skin laugh
And warms her where she doesn't need it
Susanne collects and counts with closed eyes
Every mark, every scar on Rabe's skin
And with each mark she gets a different number
And has to start her research over from the beginning
Scar 9 or 12, dog bite, harmless
Scar 17 or 21, on the knee, memory of falling into broken glass
The thick birthmark under the left arm, born with it
The dent in the middle of the sternum
A bone that broke and then grew back together misshapen
For things like the scar on the thigh, 15 or 16
And the coin--sized impression below the shoulder blade, 8 or 11
Rabe provides no information
Pushes Susanne's probing finger softly aside
And pretends to have fallen asleep
So that, while he sleeps, Susanne can kiss the unexplained marks
With even more concentration, with a devotion
Which would like to believe that her tenderness
Could erase the deepest past
Forgetting what is to be forgotten
In the quiet hours
In Rabe's room

She sees Rabe happy for the first time
Rabe laughs, he actually laughs

They only leave the room once
Susanne, at the open windows, looks across the street
Maybe Ludwig watches us sometimes
Like you used to do
But he isn't home
Carefree, she packs her bag and pulls Rabe down the stairs
Before he even knows it
With the subway to the end of the line
From there they walk, run
Running running running against the time standing still

They called me "Arab" for one or two summers. Everyone needed a nickname. I wasn't a part of any group, they thought it was funny. After school I would go home and then take off by myself. They didn't do anything to me, absolutely nothing. It was only this word that drew a boundary. Between me and them. Or was it the word that named the boundary that had always been there.
If we went somewhere, all someone had to do was call out "Hey, Arab" and then I got the drafty seat, the cold food, the ugly girl. Rabe, my name is Rabe. They laughed. He's ashamed to be an Arab. I made an effort. If I was going to be a false Arab, I wanted to at least be the smartest, the best looking and the bravest. They laughed and I remained the other. And could never be anything but the other. Until I thought, good, that's how it is, you see me as scum. And if you want for my feet to be black, for me to be dark and shadowy, then my feet should be black, just for you. And I let them be and became what I am.

From there they walk, run
Running running running against the time standing still
They reach the water, breathless

A rower, I wanted to be a rower

That was the summer where I started to train. Everything all at once at first, boxing, rowing, wrestling. My uncle had a canoe that I could row in the river against the current.
A river where the foam floats over a bed that you could never look down on. I didn't want to fight. I didn't want to battle. I just wanted to be armed in case they came to attack me.

They run along the riverbank
The movement was nice. I learned to control my body. The movement was nice. I should
have been a rower instead of a soldier.

They run along the riverbank
A rainy day, they are alone, the riverbank is softened
Reeds sod black earth
On a dock two wooden planks wide, they find a canoe
They silently consider the oars in the oarlocks
Turned inwards
A leak in the bottom between two planks
A stream of water rushes into the boat and back out again in the rhythm of the waves
They untie the rope and jump in
Neither of them make the attempt to row
They lie on their backs and let themselves float out to sea


(They've smoked grass, the climax is over, last drags.)

EDNA: Say it again. Qiu Shihua. Say it again.

KAROLINE: Qiu Shihua. I don't know what he looks like. Don't know if there's a picture of him.

EDNA: Yeah, good, Chinese then. A Chinese dude around 70. Goatee. Flat nose with big nostrils. I can imagine.

KAROLINE: Slow as a snail. Every year that was a work year, he painted about one painting. That, he said, they say, was enough.

EDNA: Describe them to me. So you can't recognize anything for awhile.

KAROLINE: They're all – almost white. At first glance, it's nothing more than a slightly dirty canvas. Invisible spots.

EDNA: But very gradually, if you stand in front of it long enough –

KAROLINE: You begin to realize what you have in front of you, what lines, expanses, landscapes reveal themselves, could open in the light –

EDNA: Which also comes from the painting itself, which is –

KAROLINE: (Swallows a pill) – is also imaginary. Things that weren't there before. That the first as well as the second, third and fourth glances don't see. That only the tired eye sees that has been looking for so long that it waters and the lid twitches, then it gradually shows you the reality.

EDNA: The sky as it, still veiled, is shone through by a blinding sun. The light expands and penetrates the water, the land and you, standing in front of it as the viewer.

KAROLINE: Even more amazing, it's your eye, it's your thoughts which create the shapes, the colors, the images. They need time, they take time from you and give you space and calm and happiness in return. They give you --

(Takes a pill.)

EDNA: Imagination. Yeah. Someone stole this time from me. The time where I could have realized what I had for options. The time where everything was white and slowly brightened. The time where the contours formed. Mine, not other people's. The time where you believed in yourself – me in myself, not in someone else.

(Pause. Sobriety sets in.)

EDNA: The morning of that day in August. The bright, blue morning of that day in August. It's what I miss the most. We already knew that it was going to be a hot day. That was the only thing we knew.


KAROLINE: Edna, you shouldn't go there anymore, to where the accident happened. It isn't good for you.

EDNA: I know. Every day I run down the street and then left to the old gym, exercising. Every day. I'll take a different route. I promise. (Pause.)
Pondering. The pondering pain martyr. The pain in my head only stops when I sleep. But I can hardly sleep anymore, I can't I can't I can't sleep any more – don't you feel bad. From before. That you don't have the school anymore.

KAROLINE: Why. Should I have kept working. After treatment. I couldn't take it. Nervous breakdown. Not at all because of the students. They're cruel directly. Original Olaf: Ms. Karoline, did they cut off your milk bags... I said, yes Olaf, and now I'll be topless can use my bra cups as coffee filters -- ... The worst were my colleagues. The women as well as the men. As if I were a ghost to them. I'd come into a room, walk down the aisle and they'd lift their heads like I was a draft of air. No one looked at you. Or suddenly they'd stare at your knees. – That's no life.

EDNA: Why didn't you just get a pair of replacement tits right away.

KAROLINE: Yeah. Guess. Take it as it comes. Stay true. Keep it real.

EDNA: Undisguised nature –

KAROLINE: Who wants to be themself.

EDNA: Definitely not me.


EDNA Now you've got about enough, right.

KAROLINE: Yeah. -- They should still look aesthetic. – I don't want anybody saying behind my back that the breasts are ok but the body is too small.

EDNA: You have to like them.

KAROLINE: Like them – I have to drag them around. (Takes a pill.)

EDNA: Hey. What are you taking. Without me. That's already the third --

KAROLINE: It's nothing. It's just for the back pain.

EDNA: You shouldn't shake them so much.



LUDWIG: Get in the bathtub.

ROSMARIE: Oh, the water will be icy, it will be icy, icy, icy.

LUDWIG: You just think that. It's warm.

ROSMARIE: We have to save electricity. Because of the war.

LUDWIG: There's no war here.

ROSMARIE: Is it already over?

LUDWIG: No, Rosmarie. We don't have a war here. There hasn't been one for a long time.



ROSMARIE: Ludwig –

LUDWIG: What, mama.

ROSMARIE: Can I ask you something, can I ask you something without you laughing at me.

LUDWIG: I'd never laugh at you. What is it.

ROSMARIE: (nervous, ashamed) I don't know –

LUDWIG: Just say it.

ROSMARIE: I don't know, maybe it just seems like it to me, maybe I'm imagining -- but –pause. I haven't seen Edgar in such a long time. (Very tired, very forlorn). In such a long time.

LUDWIG: (patiently, takes ROSMARIE'S hands, lovingly) Mama, you know that Edgar is dead. A car ran him over.


ROSMARIE: I'll never understand that.


LUDWIG: I know.

Rosmarie has undressed
And gets into the tub
Lies down in the water
Lies down in the sea
Mussels snails fish
Where life comes from
Ludwig thinks that Susanne is standing next to him
Or Edgar

Or Karoline
Or who does this voice belong to that says
Don't do it
He strains
Louder, he commands
If you want to speak with me, speak louder
So that I can understand you
He listens
Louder, louder, louder
I can't hear you
Don't scream like that, says Rosmarie
He stops for a moment, but there is no other voice
No one speaking to him, everything silent

Ludwig pushes his mother's shoulders under the water, a tap is enough, the woman is so thin, so meager, she weighs almost nothing, the shoulders, then the head, the mother goes under, comes up, the hair wet, the head seeming smaller than normal, she looks up, looks at Ludwig, confused, but friendly, she even smiles, yes, she laughs, a tap, the shoulders, the head, goodbye mama, farewell, she comes back up once, twice, three times, she can't get any air, the eyes are closed, her body does not fight, her heart puts up no resistance, the hands are open, her lungs breath water


OLAF: (is silent for a long time and looks at the audience before he speaks)
I don't need to go out anymore
I don't need to see the sun anymore
Everything that I still need hangs at the end of a power cable
that leads into my room
All of the signals that I need are caught for me
by my wireless receiver, my radio beacon, my antenna
from the air
I transmit myself
Sonar radar ultrasound light impulses
An insect, a bat
Goodbye weather and time of day and physical contact
Everything is on the screen
I don't need the outside anymore

Your assassin is more important to you than the fate of your neighbors
Your terrorist is more important to you than the fate of your friends
But maybe it's us in the end
Us, who you thought you knew the best
from childhood on
and who you actually know the least
Us, who you think God just made on the side
or even by mistake
at any rate, without putting much effort into it
and that's exactly what they look like and exactly how their lives will be
A piece of shit that experiences only shit between birth and death
Shit what they touch and shit what they do
Shit to shit, whether they want it or not
How could they be capable of planning something evil
How could they dare to even think of acting
when they only accidentally exist
Maybe it's us
Us, the simple, invisible ex--free climbers from the neighborhood
who used to hang like flies on the wall
who you noticed just as little as flies on the wall
a little annoying at best
In the end, we'll teach you what it means to live in fear, in fear


They say, we should have paid
More attention
Every single one of us to
Every single one of us to
Every single one
Yeahyeah suresuresure
That's true
We should have
You should have
You should have

We didn't see him
We weren't there
Death was faster than life

I'll never let you go
I'll never leave you alone
When death comes for you
You should be with me

Because it
Could have been recognized
Because it could have been foreseen
And someone could have
And we
Could have
Stopped it
Yeahyeah suresuresure

Every single one of us

Sure thing

In hindsight


PETER: He just kept going. So absent. Thoughtless. I watched it with fear. What was he planning. He didn't seem like someone who was lost. He went away purposefully, always further away. I called after him, Mr. Schraube Mr. Schraube. Not a shrug of the shoulders, not a turn of the head. Ludwig, I called, Ludwig, maybe that'll bring him back. Nothing. He turned green, the ferns grew higher the further he went, surrounding his knees, legs, hips, the shadows of the young trees settled upon his body, leaves covered his arms, branches descended and caught his neck, his hair. He kept going, further, until he could no longer be seen between the trees, until the green had taken him into itself.


Then Susanne is standing in Rabe's doorway, suitcase in hand
And he can no longer close the door in front of her
She enters the room which is his
And begins to unpack the suitcase
She cleanly stacks her things in the closet which is his
And sits on the bed in a natural way
Which seems to suggest that they belong together
Should live together from now on
While Susanne speaks of the man that murdered his mother
And left
No one knows where Simply disappeared
Rabe thinks about the woman that he left
And that he never again wants to leave a person
Who thinks he could belong to them
And so he allows the game which isn't one
And which he doesn't know how it will go on
And hopes for a good end

They can't tell whether he held Rosmarie
Under the water Or if it was an accident
They can't know
How could she drown on her own
A heart attack or stroke
The autopsy didn't find anything like that

To his surprise, Rabe finds pleasure in the life
As a pair, that lovingness sustains
What they should live on, what will happen
He doesn't want to think about that

I don't know him at all, don't know who the man is who was my
husband. Help me, please, I said to him sometimes, before, What should I do
or be there. But in his world, you couldn't show any weaknesses not him
not me, no vulnerability no nakedness no surrender. In his world, I thought, people wear corsets to hold together what would otherwise lose its shape. So I learned to be quiet, to smile.

Even though it was Susanne who came to him
She doesn't seek Rabe's closeness.

Now I can't speak the name of the husband anymore. Both
disappeared, child and father.

She doesn't want to be held and walks around stiffly
Like someone with arthritis, every movement causes pain
At night she moves away, a space between them

This is familiar to Rabe
You aren't needed
But your presence is desired
I like this feeling
It's not true what they say about how you become a soldier
That you have to erase yourself, forget your own person
I've never felt myself so much
As I did in the army
I like this feeling, I need this feeling
I was doing something important
Was trained for special missions
I signed up voluntarily
It didn't hurt that
There was no war where we are
Not really
The word isn't used anymore
The word is dying out
And we are task forces

Now I'm on the task force Operation Susanne
And this is our field camp
When the marching orders will come
And where they will lead
We don't know

Rabe laughs
Rabe looks at his bandaged hands
One thing is sure
I want to complete this mission together
One thing is sure
I'll get you out of here
We're taking the wounded with us
The dead remain behind
Everything will be different starting now

First love second love third love past. I've always waited for my life to become whole. Stupid, isn't it. School, work, something was missing, marriage, something was missing, have a child, something was still missing. Waiting. I didn't know for what, that would complete my life or something.
Become whole, receiving a capstone, like a roof gets its last brick so that the rain can't get in. (Pause.) And since Edgar died, nothing is missing anymore. (Pause.) Strange isn't it. (Pause.) Don't think that that was what I was waiting for. It's just that it keeps on going, life. It's never finished and never will be finished no matter what happens to us. That's not new pain, it's not comfort. It's never over. I understand that now. Silence. It's never over. Everything is open. Always. Silence. And that's why I'm more scared now than ever before.

A feeling of helplessness threatens to rise in Rabe
Every time that Susanne talks like this
He doesn't have so many words at his disposal
He'd rather act
Can you act through words
Sometimes he gets a headache when she talks like this
He talks back as well as he can
For two people they fill this room with too many thoughts
He feels that
The thoughts that are spoken and those which move through both of their
heads, constantly
They threaten to explode the room
And make a very dangerous situation out of this thing here
He feels that
We need someone to take our thoughts
First to listen to them in peace, secondly to put them in order
Thirdly to keep them until we might want to have them back again
We have to get rid of them

Susanne nods mutely
They offered her care
Relief relief
But then she doesn't do anything else


EDNA: Here and there an anonymous threat
And what day is today
The assassin is underway again
Edna couldn't stop it
Last chance Find the bomb
disarm it On the way to the
other place Finally
I can prove what I can do

The target A restaurant in the center of town
shortly after the offices close, well visited
I got the peroxide weeks ago
Hydrochloric acid acetone
then hoped for my sign
now I'm finally here
Finally I will come unto myself
In the entrance to a building
across from the restaurant
Waiting observing
I look down at my body
I'm wearing the belt
the belt with the explosives
Who am I
I look down at my body
A man a woman
The hands arms legs what do they look like
rough tender long stocky fleshy dainty
My shoes What am I wearing The colors
I touch my hair My face
Who am I What do I look like
I can't recognize my face
There's still time
There's still time
I watch as two boys unchain their bikes
from in front of the restaurant and ride away
A business man, hat black bag, comes out
hurries down the street
Blonde woman, two little children, studies the menu
keeps going A child skips ahead Hot Dog Hot Dog
Three old women, pale faces heavily made--up
leave the restaurant gossiping gossiping gossiping
A guitar pushes past them, inside
Behind it a second guitar And a blue wool coat
A backpack calls after it, runs, trips, almost falls, trips, almost falls, catches itself on a leg, Three pale faces laugh crimson
Mouths laugh along, oops, Careful young woman
The backpack disappears into the restaurant
There's still time
There's still time
The white faces kiss each other
I look down at myself
Who am I
will I go across and in
I look at the clock, follow the second hand
and count
backwards from 21


Why did you get rid of the apartment so quickly
It was yours, with a lease
I didn't want the reminder
You could have kept the apartment
Three people that I've lost, three
And their scent is still in the air
I breathe in their absence with every breath
We would have had a lot more space there
Don't yell
Sorry, I didn't even notice
I could have painted it, the entire apartment white
No, yellow, yeah, something happy, like you'd like it
It's ok, it's too late now

The dead are no threat for Rabe
Nor are the disappeared
He could have tolerated them, the apartment was large enough
He tricks himself into believing that and that he wants something permanent
Not as temporary as life in a hotel
He constantly stands at the window and looks over
Someone has unscrewed the light bulbs
Susanne, you can't turn on the lights in there anymore
Someone is carrying your mattress away
Should I go over there quick
No, I'm happy if I can get rid of the filthy thing
Maybe I could save something
Are you looking for a fight
Why do you say that
I don't want to take this life with me I don't want to be reminded of it

He does understand her, he understands her
His hands, the fingers, the skin under the bandages itches
He understands her, it's just that after he has left so much behind so often
He finally wants something permanent, he persuades himself of this
The skin under the bandages itches
He finally must be able to take something in his hands again
The dead child is appearing more often
And he can't touch it
Nights most of all, when he lies awake next to Susanne
Something is working under the bandages, they must be very small animals
Taking his dead scraps of flesh between their tiny pincers

Sticking them between their jaws, gnawing away and eating them up
He's scared to fall asleep, if he falls asleep and stops paying attention, they might start eating up his healthy skin, his healthy flesh, that could happen in his sleep, without him noticing and when he woke up it would be too late, they would have already gnawed through his flesh, they would have completely digested his sinews cartilage muscles, they get their strength from his flesh his blood, the bones would still be there and, when he woke up, his head would still be there, his brain would still be there, he would feel it, the warm tingling and pitter--patter of the thousands
of insect--like animals, as they tenderly touch him with their tentacles, he feels them at the bottom of his lips, and then they're on his tongue and before they can swarm over his eyeballs he closes the lids, it tickles, they're plucking out the lashes, soon he won't be able to see anymore, a fluid floats under the lids, now they're marching and stopping up his nostrils with their bodies and soon he won't be able to breathe anymore
Don't scream Don't scream
Don't scream
Sorry, I didn't even notice
Were you sleeping Your eyes were wide open again
No No I wasn't sleeping

Did I hit you
Just a little In your sleep But you weren't sleeping No no you didn't
hit me I thought you were catching flies waving away the smoke of your
cigarette I thought you wanted to wake me up so that you could
play with me
To play Yeah Yeah That's it To play exactly That's it

Susanne takes his hands
She takes his hands and holds them tightly and caresses them through the gauze bandages
Slowly and thoroughly as is her style
She's noticed that this movement calms Rabe down
I don't feel anything I don't feel anything
He's relieved I don't feel anything That's good

She gives Rabe a few of his medications and waits until he's asleep
Really asleep this time
She doesn't know what is tormenting him She can't even begin to suspect
We haven't promised each other anything Except not to be understanding
Good Good No understanding please
That was as serious as it was a game

Yet they still speak to each other
The desire to understand each other is too great
That they speak to the other, when he's asleep
But the dead child
And everything that goes along with it
Susanne can never talk about that
The dead child makes Rabe erupt in burning agitation
Even when he tries to control it
The dead child provokes Rabe so much
That she thinks Rabe would jump out of the window
Or he'd throw her down and jump after her
Or he'd grab her and force her to jump with him at the same time
And she'd only

The loneliness that I live with, it's like another person inside me. -- I know that you can't understand that. Laugh. It's ok. -- The stranger walking around inside me, it occupies spaces in my body that I've never been in. (Pause.) The only thing that I hear is the echo of my own steps. The only thing that I feel is the smallness of my heart. The only thing that I see is the squalor of my world.

Rabe can't take it when she talks like this
He nods at everything and feigns friendliness
And smiles until he feels really sick
He loves Susanne, she definitely shouldn't think
That he doesn't listen to her
Sometimes he's able to be quiet until the next day and to forget
Even though Susanne's words rage through his head
They slaughter each other
In his head and he can't stop them
And in his body all of the fibers twitch and cramp and just want
one thing
Something has to be done Something has to happen something loud and
Drastic Something to straighten everything out again Some beauty Some
Order Some peace
To restore normalcy
That feels good
It should feel good
Like a long time ago

When he still
Why does she say that
Why does she say something like that
No future
How can she say something like that

I could take a gun now, a knife, a grenade. I could shoot out the window at anyone who happened to come by, whether it was eighteen people one after the other or whether it was a school class. I could stand in a shopping mall and the first person to look at me, the first person to look at me with something in their gaze that I let myself misread, that I don't like – I'll ram the blade in their guts up to the hilt, between the ribs, right in the middle of the heart – I could do it. I could do it now. I'd like to do it. Now.

Susanne very quietly
Think about us
That we met each other
That we found each other
That we're here
Despite everything
Susanne even more quietly
We're here We're real

Yes, I could still always do it. I'm scared of the fact that I could still always do it. It's far from over. -- That's why I'm here. That's why I hardly trust myself to go out. Here, if this dream, this nightmare, these thoughts, this compulsion comes over me, I'll tie myself up, I'll tie myself up, I've already done it before, I have my medications, I wait until it's over, I beat my head against the floor until it's over, I bite my knuckles until it's over, I take my pills and lose consciousness until it's over.

Susanne has to watch him
As he ties himself up
She wants to stop him
He threatens her

Did you learn that in the army
How to tie yourselves up
Attempted joke
I'm the enemy, Susanne, I'm the enemy
Tears run down Susanne's face
Even though she wants to laugh
Rabe has practice, he uses two ropes
That he knots together to the bed, with a loop at the ends
That he slips his feet into
He locks a wrist to the bed with a handcuff
When he stretches out, the loops pull together
It happens fast

He's calmer now
He pretends to have fallen asleep
So that Susanne can calm herself down too
She lies next to him on the floor
She kisses his eyes
She caresses his body
He waits until he feels her breathe
In the rhythm of sleep

Then he says it
He says it in a whisper, almost without sound
What he saw, what happened to him
He says it while she sleeps so that she knows it without
Her having to hear it, without her having to feel pity, without
It having to hurt her, without
Her having to answer, she doesn't have to react
He speaks it into the night
Into the dark room
And the air carries his words into her ears and
Lets them infiltrate her sleep, sink in
Listen Susanne, it was like this

I was standing guard and there was an alarm at the door. A family was standing outside, they'd brought a child. The child was unconscious, the father held it in his arms. I saw that the stomach of the child was unnaturally swollen and there was a wound on its temple. I called for the doctors and set the child on a cot. The father, the mother and two siblings were standing next to it. I placed my hands on the child's stomach. The swelling was hard and rigid. I took one of the hands of the child in mine. A fly landed on the child's face, I drove it off and stroked the child's cheek. The child opened its eyes, looked at me and died.


EDNA: In the entrance to a building
across from the restaurant
I look down at my body
I'm wearing the belt
the belt with the explosives
Who am I
I look down at my body
A man a woman
The hands arms legs what do they look like
rough tender long stocky fleshy dainty
My shoes What am I wearing The colors
I touch my hair My face
Who am I What do I look like
I can't recognize my face
I look at the clock, follow the second hand
and count backwards from 21
And then, seven seconds before I'm supposed to go
across the street and into the target
the woman I love comes around the corner
She comes around the corner and enters the restaurant
the woman I love
The man I love
The child I love
Five four three

I look down at myself
I'm not wearing a belt
I can't recognize my face

Five four three
Over there, on the other side of the street
is a figure
A figure
is going in who
Two one zero


Today they're coming off
Today we'll have a look
Susanne can carefully unwrap Rabe's gauze bandages
Not just changing them Today they're coming off
Susanne is making something special out of it
How long have we been together I still haven't felt your naked hands
Imagine that It's not normal
Today there will be a celebration She's gotten champagne
Rabe is in a bad mood from the beginning
He would have preferred glossing over it
So do it already and do it quick
Off with the bandages in with the champagne go right to sleep
And not be conscious again until the morning
Now let's look at them in peace Are they healed Hold still
Hm all ten are still there But they don't look good Everything mutilated at the tips
Yeah my god what did you expect Of course they're mutilated
You don't need to yell
What What What did you imagine That I'd look like I was coming back from
a manicure
No but
What What What
You're being really awful today
Go ahead and start and I'll see how long you last But you really don't get it Maybe it would have been a good idea to have a little break between one guy and the next Before you get yourself stuck again somewhere you don't want to be and realize it ten years later and how to get out of this duet now You'll keep struggling for a few more years before you collapse from exhaustion some day
Rabe I understand
Please don't Please don't Please don't understand You promised me

Should I go
No No of course not Stay

I'm so sorry It hurts me so much What happened to your hands It's Edgar's fault really So it's also my fault I'm taking it from him
Ridiculous If I hadn't been On that day At that hour At brightest
Noon on the nineteenth of August If it's someone's fault I didn't

prevent it I could have prevented it
Don't start screaming again
Tell me instead
Tell me

I put my hands on his soccer ball
Just for a minute maybe less
Looked for the valve
Held the ball in my fingertips and pressed
To feel for the rest of the air in it
It just needed to be pumped up You couldn't kick it
The first car raced past
Very close to us
He was scared
And wanted to cross the street to go home go home
To me He wanted to go to me
Yes Certainly
You see My fault My giant fault
Stop it
My fault
Stop saying that
Your hands Edgar's death My fault
Be quiet

Rabe hits her
It happens so fast that he startles himself
He hits her and then hits her again
Susanne is surprised collects herself angrily allows herself to banish that word
My fault That Edgar's dead That Rosmarie's dead
Rabe hits her
It's almost a relief now
By continuing to speak unrestrainedly and just not stopping and having no consideration for him she's given him permission
He hits her
That Ludwig's gone My fault That he disappeared My fault
She hasn't defied him since she moved in with him Does she have to use these goddamned words when he doesn't want her to when he asks her not to Shut up
It serves me right It serves me right You know he cheated on me
I think he did
Susanne bleeds and screams

My fault
Rabe hits her
Nothing Nothing Nothing is her fault or ever was She is innocent and he loves her and if she could finally understand that it would go much better for both of them if she would see that it's useless to martyr yourself with these thoughts about the past and who why what He is so tired He is only hitting her from exhaustion Because she talks the future lying before them more to death each day But Susanne is bleeding But Susanne defends herself she kicks at Rabe lying on the floor catches him in the middle of the stomach the soft part of the belly She isn't scared of him absolutely no fear She has to defend the little bit of life left to her and while she tastes the iron in her mouth her love for Rabe is so great that she could kill him because she loves him so much that she could see him die because she loves him so much and then he would have peace no fear anymore no medications and they would rejoice just rejoice together like it's supposed to be the joy was destined for them nothing else and someone is preventing it something catches her right eye she falls over it grabs the telephone that she smashes with full force against Rabe's head as he bends over her now she knows who is preventing the joy they are they are preventing themselves from being happy it's only logical that if they destroy the
destructiveness in themselves so that they can have peace with each other the rebellion the tenderness for him is so strong that she wants to hug him but she no longer has the strength to do it

No idea clouds of fog shallow memories Did something happen Scraps of images scraps that remain I don't know either Something incomplete torn pages something with sharp edges that you can't drag out of your head something so terrible that you want to get rid of it
Just get rid of it
Rabe sees Susanne lying on the floor
He huddles up next to her
What am I capable of

She's breathing

What will I be capable of

He picks her up and sets her on the bed
She's breathing

What will I be capable of

He wants her to live
He wants her to find herself
He will make a big fire
So that she can find herself more easily

He will be the fire

He will be the fire
That burns for her

He opens a container
Pours gasoline over himself

He lights his lighter

He burns
The last fire The first fire


None of us live here anymore
I'm in prison
It can happen man
I'm dead
Me too
I finally got a job, a cook
Sure, it's just a diner, but it's in Danzig
I'm still disappeared
If someone asks me, I say widowed
Widowed twice
And the wounds are healed
It doesn't happen very often that someone asks
I moved away, after, inpatient
We never saw each other again
They never come to my grave
No comes to visit me at my grave
And I lie there and wait and wait
I'm dead too and don't get any visitors
And I'm not waiting so fancy with a marble angel
And all the trimmings, I've only got the heath above me
And I've been waiting for it to bloom for nine months
None of us lives here anymore
I gave up painting
Instead I have a special little store for erotic prostheses
And I advise the customers personally
I moved away, after, outpatient
We never saw each other again
Then lets slowly head home to the ivy and the worms
Yeah, slide the slab back over the box
But come out of that hole more often
Human together in the fresh air
I'll show you the stars
How will you do that when there are only ashes left of you
We never saw each other again
I'm in prison and
I'm not going back I'm running away now
I'm running away now now now or never
A day pass is no laughing matter
I'm going to be like a bird in the fall
Wait for the right wind and
Take to the air and
Fly away

translated from the German by Daniel Brunet