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Quicksand has disappeared. It's as if a world-wide removal project had completed its work under the cover of night. Where has the quicksand gone?
      One of my childhood fears was of finding myself stuck in quicksand, alone in a jungle, and frantically trying to remember what to do and what not to do, for struggling wildly would make one sink even deeper into the sinking slough. It was futile to cry out for help with the hope that a stray native might be in the vicinity, and besides, if he happened to be, he might be of the variety of those who blow tiny darts at you and then, after a numbing paralysis has made your lungs forget what to do, drag you out of the muck and shrink your head to the size of a baseball. No, it's better to keep quiet and calm, calm enough to recall that an expert, in a film, once told you that the only way out was to imagine that you are swimming, though he did not say where. The Côte d'Azur? The North Atlantic, where the Titanic slid beneath the dark waters? The aquamarine public pool where you swam as a child amidst squealing and laughter?
      But now there is no need to worry about this ever again, because quicksand has vanished, as if sunk into itself.

Ron Padgett


Number 8 - 2012

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