The teacher placed the artichoke before him on a small, oak table. Clear your mind, she said, of all but this: the color green, circles of leaves, those apertures you must enter one by one. Slowly, he moved through layers, felt his way to the spines that hid the heart. His eyes dilated like two caverns which only green entered—green upon green, leaf upon leaf. The teacher offered praise—You have learned one thing about the world, she said. All else will seem a shadow on a screen. It was true, he had no history but the flower. Soon, each thing he observed he became: a bird in a linden tree, three blue plums on a cold, white dish, a street swollen with cars, a mountain, a building, a city, the world. He could feel the weight of sun as it touched the smallest blade of grass. He trembled to possess so much—yet, when he looked in a mirror he could see each cell of skin, each hair, could see each pore and line. Thus, his face was obliterated. Thus, he ceased to exist. He became instead the air, the wind, the salt of the sea, the earth, a yellow iris twisted in the fingers of a young girl, a red fox, a golden pear.
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