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In the Reading Room

ISSUE:  Autumn 1982

Since I last looked up
from my book,
another appeared in the room
seated at the long table across from me
under the window,
bathed in gray light.

I don’t think he has come
to reflect on the lyrics of Rilke.

The Greyhound terminal is right around the corner,
but he must be frightened of police.

The one who with tremendous effort lifts his head
and stares straight at me, and sees nothing;
the one who suddenly gets to his feet
as though his name had been announced.

So far so good, no one has noticed.

Below the readers’ faces,
set now in the impenetrable
cast of people sleeping,
pages go on turning
in the silence, so much snow
falling into a grave. . . .

The one with head bent, eyelids closed,
looking at his hands.


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