Clothes hung on wooden figures, on women still, thin and unmoving. The figures offered no names, no memory. The past had vanished. Perhaps they offered beginnings, from the outside in. One could begin with a flattering garment, work inwards to the soul. It was better to begin in sections, not with everything completed and whole. It led to such disasters, such unreasoned ambition. So the dresses hung limp on the women, offering tangible illusions, clothed realities. These glassed and protected women had long brown hair and red lips and arms stretched, offering a purchasable kind of salvation. The figures had a rare insight into bodies, with no breasts, yet their children stood with them in equal poses of divinity. The children held plastic arms towards their mothers. The children wore lace. They wore bright red ribbons. It was difficult to understand the exchange the children offered because it was so clear that they had not begun to live, that their parents, standing holier above them, had at least some form of pretence long smooth necks held out to the day, heads bent slightly inward, as though they served tea. It was like that with the figures, an austere reality, fixed, with handbags held across arms stiff and long. Silent eyes fixed on passersby. The eyes saw and spoke nothing. The eyes were voiceless. They burrowed, ate their own bodies.
The ritual was cruelly imitated.