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& in the Mornings

& in the mornings sometimes awoke so cold
—the wind in Iowa City was brutal—
those days of doubt, those days of troubled land,
that I did not want to get out of bed &

Illustration by Gosia Herba

The Lineaments of Gratified Desire

When he thought about it, he could see that this thing with Alexa Jamison was a betrayal of the idea of what Sonya and he had been: the romance of that. Such a sweet beginning seems always to create a following inertia: the two families, everybody coming together as part of the story. 


Last September, Christine had gone back to college to study literature. The previous June, her lover had told her that he was transferring to Brookline, Massachusetts. She knew before she asked that he did not want her to go with him.


In 1979, when I was for two years an instructor at the University of New Hampshire, I had a student—a bright, anxious, but always attentive student—named Charles Fortunesky. He was taller than most of the others, and seemed to enjoy a comic sense of himself as gawky and slightly ridiculous. He wore his baseball cap backwards—a style that only became fashionable years after he performed his turn-around—and once, during my office hours, he put a Swiss Army knife on my desk and pantomimed a strange routine in which he pretended to click out a blade and, say, a nailfile; he then imitated, with his body, their arrangement.