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This book I’m reading now my mother read
and loved. You can get this close to the dead
and no closer. I like to imagine her smiling
or sighing over this passage. The marginalia
of lichen on a stone, between the name and dates
and words from Scripture. I wonder what
she said about this book when she got to the last
sentence. And if there was anyone there to listen…
I wasn’t. There. Or listening. Away at college,
I wasn’t reading either, though I was allegedly
majoring in English Literature. Mostly I was making
love, or trying to. And drinking and smoking and feeling
existential. When she called I talked little, half-
listened, scribbling on the wall beside the pay phone.


by Paul Hostovsky

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