In all the world there’s been one man alive and dead.

Statistics to the contrary, statistics don’t add up at all.

Add the smell of rain and your dream the other night.

That man’s Ulysses, Abel, Cain, the first to sort out constellations, the first pyramid-builder, the writer of the Book of Changes’ hexagrams, the smith who cut the runes on Hengist’s sword, the bowman Einar Tamberskelver, Luis de Léon, the bookseller who sired Samuel Johnson, Voltaire’s gardener, Darwin in the Beagle’s prow, some Jew in the gas chamber, with time, me and you.

One man died at Troy, Metaurus, Hastings, Austerlitz, Trafalgar, Gettysburg. One man died in hospitals, boats, hot solitude, alcoves of habit and love.

One man looked at vasty sunrise.

One man sampled the coolness of water, the fruits of the flesh.

I speak of the one and only who’s always alone.

Jorge Luis Borges

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