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The tree is young, and so is the moon: a waxing crescent. Waxy, too, maybe, for it’s caught in the branches. Like playing fetch when the ball gets stuck, thinks Loulou the Pomeranian. Moon of strangeness, tree of protection, tree too beautiful ever to lift a leg to.

The sky shines that velvet shade of pre-darkness, like when he and the master embark on their last walk of each night. The violet hour, some call it. Others l’heure bleue. Loulou, color-blindish, thinks of it just as twilight.

Once, their friend Suzi, an American painter, came to stay with Georgette and the master to work on a book she was writing about Magritte. “Why September 16?” she asked of this canvas, Loulou looking on from between their feet. “Pushing up from the earth towards the sun, the tree is an image of certain happiness,” said the master. Suzi said, “What?” And the master said, “To perceive this image we must be still like the tree. When we are in motion, it’s the tree who becomes the spectator.” “Go on,” said Suzi, and the master answered, “It is witness, equally, in the shape of a chair, a table, a door, to the more or less agitated spectacle of our lives.” Suzi said, “I suppose that’s right.” And the master said, “The tree, having become a coffin, disappears into the earth.” Then Loulou added, “And when it has transformed into flames, it vanishes into the air.” Suzi scooped him up gently and said, “So true, Loulou,” then scratching between his ears she said, “Now I see.”


Try to stuff the bowl with tobacco then why don’t you? Loulou the Pomeranian wants to suggest to those who claim they don’t get the meaning. Some humans assume that because he’s a dog, he’s dumb. But not the master, who understands Loulou. Ceci n’est pas une pipe. Of course it’s not. How could it be? Who’d take a burning match and attempt to light it? Marks on paper mean more to Loulou than they do to some people. A pipe can make a prisoner of its very own smoker; reality can make those it oppresses defend it. Loulou apprehends the treachery of images as well as anyone. The non-pipe floats in a non-field the thick-pale color of heavy cream. There is simply no sky in this particular image. But then again there’s no sky in any of them, really.


Not to boast, but Loulou can hear a butter- knife scraping the surface of a piece of dry toast from any room in the house. Little pom-poms of smell bop his Pomeranian nose. This one he files under the category Homey. The master and Georgette partake of the same breakfast six times a week with different spreads atop the gently burnt breads: Sour cherry. Blackcurrant. Elderberry. Marmalade. Fig. Repeat then vary, vary then repeat. The master always gives Loulou a morsel of each. The three of them read the newspaper, Georgette starting with the front page, Magritte with the funnies, Loulou the classifieds. It is of interest when someone is selling a pet. Even as they get more money from the master’s sales, they keep their routine. In the painting, the man and his paper vanish, but in life he remains: a beautiful dailiness like that of the sky. A quiet form of subversion to stay this reliable. Letting oneself go with the crowd in some ways makes sure one saves energy for other things. On Saturdays, the toast gets honey. On Sunday, they have sausage and eggs.