Montagne Rouge

Dagmar Bosma & Sophie de Serière


28th September – 19th October 2019

with text by Sophie Collins








from ‘Longing to Return’

On the train home I occupy one of the carriage’s table seats
On the other side of the aisle a business meeting is taking place
while opposite me a woman applies make-up
I watch her as much as I dare
curious to see
if she does the things I do
I suppose that she is meeting someone
(someone she likes or fears)
at the other end

I quit the train at my usual stop and on the platform
bump into Zara, a work colleague
As we move together up the narrow escalator, through the ticket barriers
and over the station concourse, towards the exit
it becomes clear that we are heading in the same direction
I am obliged to walk most of the way home with Zara
who talks without pause
Her topic is her long-term boyfriend
His books line their small flat
shelves upon shelves of them, she tells me, including
second-hand and rare editions
remnants of a former life

Last week he came home to find that Zara had been cooking on the gas stove
He became angry and disturbed. He shouted at her
It’s his fear of the abject,
she says to me now,
as we walk. Doesn’t want the smoke
on his books

We are of course meant to feel sorry for Zara
and we do – for an instant: she is not allowed to fry food in her flat;
no onions, no fish; the boyfriend is domineering;
in their household, his will supersedes hers
But later, of course, the person we feel sorry for
is him. His name is Daniel. We lament
Daniel’s sadness, which is, at its heart
a revulsion at the possibility – no, the inevitability
of decay
Because this pure and acute nostalgia
is a longing for the past
at the cost of the present
and is in no immediate danger
of being exposed, cracked open