This is, in many respects, the culmination of Caska’s entire arc. She has stepped outside the role defined for her. She has put aside the dream that denied her her agency, her value, and her capacity to love. She’s terrified and she’s guilty and she’s nervous as hell, but she’s moving forward with someone who respects her and knows her and will never make her be someone less than who she is.
The dead man is outside the pale. The dead man makes space for himself the way a soccer player moves to the place to be next. The angles shift, the pace slows and picks up, it matters more, then less, then more, then less, and others run by in both directions. One of them may slow to stoke the embers of a failing thought. For example, the dead man restores the poet’s ambition to plumb the nature of existence. Sometimes he, sometimes she, asks the dead man what it is to live as if one were already dead.