Another glimpse into the first draft as it emerges:

…. Could it be that I, poor ghost of a thousand fragments clustered in the suspect ectoplasm of the vaporized artilleryman, the failed shade imprisoned in the sliver universe, a misty specimen trapped as if between glass slides of infinitesimal thickness, pliant panes that allow only an arid, forlorn intercourse with the myriad universes oscillating and intersecting and cohabiting in the vast nothing, could it be that I was a boy prone to pimples, headaches, and exaggerated emotion, a versifier cut by the mediocrity of verse and often lost to the labor of verbal stick grenade manufacture? Strange how my mind persists, though I’ve yet to find a purpose for it in the lonely space I haunt. It seems only good for the anguish it causes me, the memories. Of Jacques. Of my pretty Colette. Of Fraenkel. Where have they all gone? I miss my body. I miss inhaling the smoke from some other kid’s cigarette, the nostrils’ ability to taste. I miss listening to Jacques’ hilarious, discomfiting, and sad theories and assertions about our parallel existence, the unified spirit we shared, the way our lives represented an essential cleave, how they derived from the same single cell.

–Maxime François-Poncet, in my novel Housebreaking the Muse.

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