Issue 73, Spring-Summer 1978
His method is published in a pamphlet.
Turning pages so quickly he resembles
some complicated threshing machine,
in dark Gray suit and a sickly tie,
his bald head gleaming
like an ice rink,
he has read forty books in three hours,
including a dozen popular novels
and a difficult treatise on the bone structure of birds
some eight hundred pages in length.
His football-shaped glasses
slip down his nose: he either squints above them
or prods them back up with a fingertip.
The finished books are stacked on the floor
like a tower of abandoned apartments.
His method is published in this pamphlet:
he sees each word
as a desert island, equipped
with one tall palm
and two shipwrecked men in tattered clothes,
and as the men
shake hands, he reads the sentence in the space
between their fingers. Eventually, the men
will starve to death, and he
will be seen in parks, pathetic,
turning the cheesy pages of a movie magazine
as slowly as the descent of a glacier.