She who is eaten death returning (Nightwood, Djuna Barnes, 1936) is lying unconscious on her bed, surrounded by a confusion of plants, flowers and birds singing that we cannot see.
It is in the midst of this confusion that she introduces herself to us. Asleep, she is the ration of carnivorous flowers in the ravenous jungle that has become her room. Dreaming, she goes into the earth and comes back out of it, back from it, eaten.
She slumbers her way out of the Kingdom through fantasy and reminiscence, exhuming depths where time is wide not long.
The body, still, gives in, is hooked and conquered; the self drops: just an echo, then a shudder. Forces indistinctly vital and fatal traverse matter, tethering moments disorderly on complex temporal axes.
She survives the night: she only took a little while dead before coming back to life dressed to kill, garnished with the unknowable.
“The woman who presents herself to the spectator as a ‘picture’ forever arranged is, for the contemplative mind, the chiefest danger. Sometimes one meets a woman who is a beast turning human.” Beast insofar as she is not human.
She was and is before humans. “Such a woman is the infected carrier of the past: before her the structure of our head and jaws ache—we feel that we could eat her, she who is eaten death returning, for only then do we put our face close to the blood of our forefathers.”
She is before and after nature, above it and below it, arranging herself sometimes as the hypnotising portrait of it, in and through a dream of it, mocking and tripping its one-way wheel of survival and reproduction. Her own particular cycle is one of life and death, night and day, returning —extinction and stolid underlay. An excremental perseverance. A shitstorm.