Reading Repentance


He says he’s a slow reader, and I envy his time to savor words.

I have been skimming for months now.

Careening through stories and carefully-chosen observations

gives no respect to these masters of their craft.

I apologize.

Squinting to see phrases through tired glasses —

even they have exhausted their patience with this pace.

Oh the glory of that waltz of words — now allegro! now presto!

I will take you to bed and stay there for days —

Henry, May, Alice, Michael.

What will the neighbors say?

WORDS: ©2014, Jen Payne
IMAGE: Woman Reading, Will Barnet, 1970

4 thoughts on “Reading Repentance

  1. I KNEW that was Will Barnet. He’s almost never seen around the Net, I think.
    Love the poem. Am sure I know Henry and May. But Alice? The Wonderland wonder? That one? And Michael? is he Cunningham, perchance? And if not, who?


    1. Henry – Thoreau, of course. And May – Plant Dreaming Deep is next. Have you read it? Alice, was Alice Hoffman who I have devoured this year. But I do have Alice on my iPhone, she’s through the looking glass now. And Michael – ah! Ondaatje, Running in the Family. So many books…


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