When I’d come back from school a trip or playing and some improper word popped up in my stories, Uncle Fritz was quick to describe for me from what kind of person that word had got stuck on my tongue—from what kind of distorted sentence what kind of colorful embroidered decoration on what kind of kitchen wall: an interloper, a parasite, now contemplated between us for a long time, transformed into the hero of a commedia—
and I’d laugh and be ashamed that I hadn’t been able to recognize and vanquish the treacherous word.
But in the very next moment Uncle Fritz changed the scene: at a sign he assembled ranks of smartly dressed words, in tie and tails, with thin refined smiles . . . He was able to play like that in several languages, no less than in Romanian; he paraded hosts of words across our frontiers without paying duties; while looming from horizon to horizon, the Iron Curtain absorbed every echo. (Waves with the infrequency of a century washed below, through phreatic waters.)
The being of his words sparkled over time and space as in some wake resonating from Finnegan into the deepest extremity of the Carpathians—mirrors which contained everything life-size, but much more luminous.


And there was a strange festivity, the table forever laid in the closing words of a fairy tale and stretching endlessly to the margin of time.