Harp & Altar
Roseanne Carrara
The End of the Novel

Andy Fitch
from Island

Eileen G'Sell

Amy King

Jesse Lichtenstein

Stephen Sturgeon
Three Elegies for Landis Everson

G.C. Waldrep

The End of the Novel
Roseanne Carrara

Though it belongs to everyone dwelling here,

and all claim it as their own, this is not a country.

The lovers here are tortured by their orthodoxies

and appearances. They both cheat. One, so we can see it,

heaving and raw during his brief exile in America,

the other, only in retrospect, as evidenced in her

accumulation of material objects and her more staunch

religious devotion. When they come together,

having found themselves wanting, after all,

their reunion is supposed to appear high ecstasy

against the background of an embattled Israel,

the amphitheatre of fiction itself. Whatever kernel

of romance the author would convey remains

spoiled, though, for all their initial, heavy cheating –

too much representative of the war after all,

though perhaps it was meant to be so. In another,


the problem is not love in excess but its

extinction in installments. There’s the initial

passion, but someone else, angered by it,

in the old fashioned way, sends one of the lovers

away against their will. When they meet again,

the pair’s diffident. They appear alienated from one

another. Though only a quick diffidence is allowed

before they are lost in a bombing – more dreadful

because its sound is muted in the excitement over

the end of the war. All this is supposed to sore trumpet

again when we are told the reunion itself is a sham.

It has never happened, the lovers coming together, at last,

not their dying together, either. This last bit, as it turns

out, is just the villain’s therapeutic, part of the new

trauma revealed to us in the epilogue. I find


I am the woman in the third. Kidnapped by an ex-

boyfriend, a sex maniac who claims I am his first

and only love, I appear dull, obviously not much

of a catch because my memory’s fagged out, and I’m

trotting around his back parlor an amnesiac, applying

makeup on the hour (I’ve turned ugly or perhaps I

always was). No matter my appearance he can’t help

trying to convince me he’s done something very real

for us, even or especially as I make my escape. That he

also claim’s my adopted son’s his own’s easily conceived.

He’s had half a universe of women, after all, and he’s

desperate. Though the point’s that he’s diminished neither

by my going nor the death of my son that’s his loss now, too.

No, the point’s that after all these attempts to betray us out

of our senses, he makes a healthy conversion, if only a slight

one, to frank, old mysticism, finding some statue endowed


with the same little spirit that pervades them all. Having

read them, now, and experienced this last in more

than the ordinary fashion, I am equipped to speak on behalf of you

novelists, tell you that your capitals, romance, and realism,

have broken up at last and gone into hiding. Do not leave it

to poetry to reunify them, ask for the live space of the lyric

or the sonnet as your alternative, say, superior, transport here.

Sacrifice your own. Send your children out (like the kids

of the big movie stars, yours are bound to amplify themselves,

as well, in your fame and fortune) searching with the old

pitchfork and scythe. Get a few good hurricane lanterns and go

back hunting for a moral and a bind for the good organ’s

writhing in this rush to make the psyche, callow personage,

promiscuous as an old miser in one of his jangling hypos.