Raoul Schrott

An extract from 'The Sex of the Angels, the Saints in their Heaven' by Raoul Schrott, translated by Karen Leeder. The book, with illustrations by Arnold Mario Dall'O, is out this year with Seagull Books.

On the only stretch of road that runs straight along by the river, I sometimes turn the headlights off so that I drive for a second or two in the dark and see the earth turning towards the night. From the hill, and from the house then, the earth lies below me; the sea its stage, the stars extras, and beyond the clouds a handful of actors waiting for their cue to enter. Each one I give a different prompt: they always make a decent fist of it. In the orchestra pit between the islands the wind slowly tunes up; the beam of the lighthouse flashes the scenery before one’s eyes every five seconds, but audience there is none. The rows of seats are empty. I walk through the grass; it brushes against my shoes. All is still, and I wish your voice was with me now, whispered and low so that only I could hear it. Instead the moon starts off on a soliloquy. Where it stands, stubbornly apart, is the southwest and somewhere behind is where you are, as if I only had to concentrate to see that far, peer over the curvature of the earth. But where you are it is an hour later, I only wish I knew how to catch up that hour.