2. J. stepped out of the basement and into the scalding Roman son to Lucia’s house. In the overhanging linden trees, drooping over the disjointed and crumbling sidewalk like a concealing mask of greenery, hide a disfigured face which was the sky; cicadas called out in rising shrills. A group here, cluster there, interspersed among the verdant canopy, like guerrillas hidden in some jungle, they seemed to sing: SO SO SO SO, without variation. Their only melody it was true, but everyday it seemed to J. to covey some new statement of metaphysical truth uttered in a single, long syllable.