THE PRESIDENT IN HER TOWERS

Each day this week I’ll post a passage that keeps haunting me. Today’s is the from The President in Her Towers, a novel by Tom Whalen. I keep thinking about the first paragraphs of the chapter “A Conference on Snow,” especially on days like today, when the sky is dragging in something heavy from the north.

The winds in the Towers. They come, they go, like the President herself. I sit in my small, white cubicle staring out at the snow that blankets the sidewalk between H Tower and S Tower and fills the air with its heavy flakes, and for days I do not see the President.

I do not know her itinerary; that is, I know only those parts of it she wants me to know. In the ninth floor cubicle, I look out the window at the snow-capped highrises of the city, at the radio tower on the Raichberg, at the clouds that spread over the sky like a hand, like the hand of the President over my forehead one day when I said I had a fever.

I think I’m a little ill, I said, a little woozy. The world trembles in its veins, I said. I’m not at all sure that I am what one might call entirely well, I might indeed be a little sick, a little not altogether well, I said. I believe I’m sick, ich habe etwas Kopfweh, a little trembling in those regions of thought where there should be none.

She placed her hand on my hot forehead, and the fever retreated like a wave from the shore. Without saying a word, the President turned and left my cubicle.

The President in Her Towers is published by Ellipsis Press.