Secrecy, as expressed by its etymology, is a topological severing and a severed topology, a place of disjoining and a disjoined place. Secretum, from the substantive of secerno (to set apart, sever, disjoin), signifies both something hidden, concealed, mysterious and a remote, out of the way, solitary location. This essential relation to place explicates secrecy's radical subjectivity, the sense in which an authentic secret, as opposed to something merely occluded, is exactly something that cannot be communicated or produced, something that, forever remaining in its own place, can only be pointed toward. As Bachelard says, "All we communicate to others is an orientation towards what is secret without ever being able to tell the secret objectively. What is secret never has total objectivity." But what forever remains in its own place, par excellence, is place itself, as indicated by Aristotle's definition of place as "non-portable vessel" and "innermost boundary of what contains" (Physics 212a). Secrecy thus communicates something essential about place per se: its incommunicability. More deeply, secrecy is itself a local relation or topological communion with the incommunicable, not a dialogue within but a whispering through place. Like the original but unseen fissure within the wall shared only by Ovid's lovers, the space of secrecy splits or disjoins place, opening a way for holding the non-portable, possessing the non-possessable. Something of this structure appears captured in the tendency to talk of persons as bearing, harboring, or carrying secrets and in secret childhood experiences of secret places, places proverbially "still within us" because they were never properly anywhere else. Conspicuous here is a fundamental collapse or dis-differentation of the distinction between the object and its location, proportional to secretum's semantic confounding of the difference between a secret and a secret place. Secrecy remains an essentially epistemic category, but only by virtue of being constituted by knowledge of an object whose nature and meaning are fundamentally overtaken, like an ancient overgrown ruin, by the place of knowing it. A secret overcomes the immobility of place. Secrecy is like inverted or inside-out place, the outermost boundary of what contains, something way out there or beyond the sky, and a portable non-vessel, a highly keepable container preciously holding something at once everything and almost nothing other than itself, like a little reliquary. At the limit of this inversion is the self as absolute secret, and as Bachelard says, "absolute casket." Explaining this phrase, he cites a letter by Mallarmé in which the inner and outer versions of secrecy as inverted place beautifully intersect: "Every man has a secret in him, many die without finding it, and will never find because they are dead . . . I am dead and risen again with the jeweled key of my last spiritual casket. It is up to me now to open it . . . and its mystery will emanate in a sky of great beauty." Like the dwelling-place of Diana's nakedness, secrecy maps a subtle topographical state of identity between internal and external, intimate and wild, private and other, bedroom and forest. Secrecy is the divine safety Jupiter offers the virgin Io before ravishing her: "quodsi sola times latebras intrare ferarum, / praeside tuta deo nemorum secreta subibis" [but if you fear to penetrate alone the hiding places of wild beasts, with a god as your guardian you will securely enter the secrets of the woods]. Secrecy is the eternally individuated erotic room of mystical union: "Et unaquaeque invenit secretum sibi cum sponso, et dicit: Secretum meum mihi, secretum meum mihi. Non omnibus uno in loco frui datur grata et secreta sponsi praesentia" [And each enters with the bridegroom into a secret place for herself, and says, my secret is for me, my secret is for me. The dear and secret presence of the bridegroom is not given for all to enjoy in one place].
 Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, trans. Maria Jolas (Boston: Beacon, 1969), 13.
 "Just, in fact, as the vessel is transportable place, so place is a non-portable vessel" (Aristotle, Physics, 4.4.3, 212b, cited from The Basic Works of Aristotle, ed. Richard McKeon [New York: Random House, 1941], 277).
 "fissus erat tenui rima, quam duxerat olim, / cum fieret, paries domui communis utrique, / id vitium nulli per saecula longa notatum— / quid non sentit amor?—primi vidistis amantes" (Ovid, Metamorphoses, 4.65-8) [the wall common to each house was split with a subtle fissure, which it had formed long ago when it was made; you, lovers—what does love not sense?—first saw that flaw noticed by no one for generations].
 Bachelard, Poetics of Space, 85 and 85n.1.
 Ovid, Metamorphoses, Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1966), I.593-4. All translations mine unless otherwise noted.