Dancing at the top of the world is easy. Frolicking, galloping, cavorting – all are so simply done. At night, under starlight,with comets and asteroids grazing up there in the massy deep, the deer bounds, springs, jumps, from roof-top to roof-top. It gambols like a gazelle. It skips like a springbok. Froglike it leaps and childlike it leapfrogs: over chimney pots; beneath the woolly bodies of clouds; over girders; under the crescent moon, which sharpens like a scythe over the city’s sleeping populace…

The moon knows, as does the deer, that the end of the world is coming. They can hear it – the roaring end-of-it-all. Nearly every earthly entity knows this, even those never catalogued, collected, collated by the humdrum minds of human beings; even those that, by some seeming-feather brains, were: the imps; the gnomes; the slender, thin-limbed dryads; the demons of every size and shape; the gods. This stone deer, that sits by day as stonestill as the distant moon. That same moon which, in just a few days’ time, will kiss the earth’s face with a killing force, when this universe, like an imperfect first draft, is crushed into a ball and tossed into nothingness by that huger-than-human hand.

Time, then, is brief. But in its brevity, it tastes sweet; sweeter; sweetest. At this last moment, the bitter dregs – being the final drops – taste to those that know as sweet as summer nectar. Time is almost done but the stone deer is – and feels that it is – at the top of the world. It dances a dizzying sequence of stupendous constellations that will never be noted, by night; and by day, it rests, as grey and silent as a headstone, but with one little leg jutting forward, as if about to bound, and jump, and dance; as if, even in the face of death, the moon glaring cold and bloody above it, it is asking all of the universe to join in.

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