Inventory (I)

Mark Dion, Bureau of the Centre for the Study of Surrealism and its Legacy, 2005, detail.

Mark Dion, Bureau of the Centre for the Study of Surrealism and its Legacy, 2005, left rear corner.

Inventory
by Jorge Luis Borges

To reach it, a ladder has to be set up. There is no stair.
What can we be looking for in the attic
but the accumulation of disorder?
There is a smell of damp.
The late afternoon enters by way of the laundry.
The ceiling beams loom close, and the floor has rotted.
Nobody dares to put a foot on it.
A folding cot, broken.
A few useless tools,
the dead one’s wheelchair.
The base for a lamp.
A Paraguayan hammock with tassels, all frayed away.
Equipment and papers.
An engraving of Aparicio Saravia’s general staff.
An old charcoal iron.
A clock stopped in time, with a broken pendulum.
A peeling gilt frame, with no canvas.
A cardboard chessboard, and some broken chessmen.
A stove with only two legs.
A chest made of leather.
A mildewed copy of Foxe’s “Book of Martyrs,” in intricate
Gothic lettering.
A photograph which might be of anybody.
A worn skin, once a tiger’s.
A key which has lost its lock.
What can we be looking for in the attic
except the flotsam of disorder?
To forgetting, to all forgotten objects, I have just erected
this monument
(unquestionably less durable than bronze) which will be
lost among them.

From Jorge Luis Borges, The Book of Sand.

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