diary / by Edward Mullany


On the floor in a room in a museum in a city that my friend and I did not live in, but that we happened to be traveling through, on our way to somewhere else, an artist who’d been commissioned to do an installation that a curator said was site-specific had made piles of different-colored paper clips, some of which appeared to have been shifted by museumgoers who’d visited before us, or to have settled, without interference, into heaps that were less prominent than they might’ve been when the artist had arranged them, so that we could see how they’d slipped from mounds into puddles, and even how individual paper clips had slid away from their families, or mates, and now were alone in some no-man’s land, or stray territory, so that my friend, who said she felt sorry for these ones, in fact picked one up and carried it back to the pile where she guessed it must have originated, though after we’d left, and were in the car again, and were back on the highway, and going wherever it was we were going, she opened her hand and revealed that she’d also taken one with her, as a keepsake, she said, though a few weeks later, when we’d returned from our trip, and I was looking for an item that I’d thought I’d forgotten in the car, I discovered the paper clip underneath her seat, where she must’ve dropped it at some point when she’d fallen asleep, so I took it with me and brought it up to my apartment, and am using it now to hold together some papers I keep in my desk.