I've been thinking about the Trace. As through a cloud chamber an energized particle passes, ionizing the cloud medium, marking the path of the particle--a trace that is not itself the moving particle that made it, but its sign. So a poem, a work of art. What is left on the page, the canvas, resonating in our hearing: the Trace of the encounter that is its meaning. An absence marked, or mark of what is absent.
The critical task, both necessary and impossible, is to evoke through a second level encounter with the Trace (the Thing left to mark the Absence... the Lacanian Real ?) -- the shape of the relationship between the remnant and that which is no longer there and cannot be reclaimed, renamed, recounted. A second Trace, a second Absence.