The publishers say my treatise on the rainbow is selling a little better this year. And with the royalties, we can live on more than just bread and circuses alone. The Alhambra Decree passed with a majority vote and my family was pushed from country to country, from diaspora to diaspora like a gypsy caravan captained by Ahasuerus, all of Europe an anti-Semitic basket case. I rented a room with a harpsichord whose keys I never fingered, and shelved the laws of Hebrew grammar, Talmudic scholia, the geometric textbook; determined as I was to defy the determinism of my race, cursed with all curses of Deuteronomy. No war between the mind and the body except that which the mind wages against its own body. The sun looks the same whether from prison or from a palace and we too need resistance to fly like the albatross. The Collegiants agreed that God might inhabit the substance of a stone, the mode of a mountain, the attribute of an angle. Grind a lens so large, they urged me, that even the myopic, who can buy nothing with their frugal thoughts, could see the armigerous affections of a determinist in cloud formations – that circus of pareidolia – reflected in the linished surfaces of Amsterdam’s canals. Like Nero straining through the green of an emerald to glimpse a favorite gladiator just before he is devoured by a female bear. Then a bureaucratic snail knocked and produced a writ of cherem: Elisha’s curse reversed upon me, for teaching the unity of convex and concave, the refracted real image and its virtual other, for identifying the shadow of the light with the thing itself. Rather to wear the foreskin of a Gentile like a death mask than to have my visage printed on their Dutch guilder. If you don’t like it here, I said with blue lips, the early onset of Potter’s Rot, you are always free to go. So, what keeps you here, when the door is wide open like the mouth of one sleeping? God has unloaded the gun of stars. If you smell roses, the corpse cannot be too far. Even mechanics do metaphysics. The Cheshire cat’s smile is no accident. What are we human machines then but uncanny swine satisfied? And then I returned to my lens-grinding. The lens grew until it filled the entire room, pressing me against the wall. I slept under its convex penumbra, like a glass tent pitched upon the deserts of the moon among the silica dust of ground lenses, and every morning I polished it with the white rags of Maimonides’ turban and a few glasses of canal water until the forty-two she-bears danced to my door, ready with the laughter of devoured children.