We take our solace, in a time of malaise and mourning, in the close-at-hand.
She knew what boys can do to girls: if the girls are alone, and helpless.
Why do you keep so much from your husband, don’t you trust him?
Isn’t Nightshade sad, people said; isn’t he pathetic; isn’t he hideous.
“Happy? Nabokov died yesterday, we all move up a notch.”
He’s an excellent student. It’s just that . . . he thinks ideas are real.
I saw her bed wasn’t slept in and knew—something had happened.
He didn’t mind, he insisted, that he loved her more than she loved him.
Insomnia! There is a sickly romance to the affliction—initially.
She could not have known how uncannily she resembled me.
This is not deception. This is a subtle way of conditioning.
“A book is an ax,” Franz Kafka once said, “for the frozen sea within.”
Late March 2002. “Mud time”—so called in Mad River Junction, Ohio.
If Vann kisses her, a mist will rise in her brain. A promise of oblivion.
Mother had always told me that everybody loves a self-absorbed ass.
Five dark shapes loped after the car. Dogs—as far as the eye could see.
Lindy knew what happens in the dark behind shut doors: girls tell stories.
A week later, I said to a friend: I don’t think I could ever write about it.
What if my mother could have been happy if I hadn’t been born?
After nearly a year of dating, I never stopped thinking of that other boy.
Corn repeats itself into a haze of tassels and sheaving leaves.
I was once very brave. Once I was very brave. I was very brave once.
My shadow is cast by the paleness of a certain star.
A cuckoo calls the hours like an old clock, only not the hours we mean.
It’s been months since the cat died and still we find her hair.
Nothing likes to be abandoned, no one likes to be compared.
This morning I watched two elephants dance the boogie-woogie.
The school’s committed to an all-sterile facility by the year 2025.
One day, we will all turn into choir girls—all soft and hollow inside.
I love talking to girls. That’s why I’ve written so much about them.
When I went to Scotland for a wedding, I didn't plan on firing a gun.
In real life, my favorite character, so to speak, is Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The illusion is so complete that it seems the world has been re-created.
She’d ransacked his heart the moment she unlocked the door.
Some people you come across you come to love. He was one of them.
Theirs was a free fall that went on and on. If it’s time to fall, let’s fall.
Needless to say, when it was my night to read I was beyond terrified.
The gravest season and least understood is more than pale heads
In that world I was a fish too eager to enter the nets; here, I’m a river.
Now only the single syllable that is the beloved, that is the world.
The letters combine into words that resurrect the beloved every time.
Nothing holds the universe together; nothing is the secret force.
In a job like that you see the dirty work of Empire at close quarters.
Bodies, moths, destroyers. Fear like finding a bullet in a snowman.
I have many dreams, I say. In my dreams I am better than myself.
Tell her I put poison in the pot and I intend to watch her drink it.
I am subject to you in the way the water is subject to the moon.
But we do despise beauty. We connect it with softness and immortality.
Unnatural as a ghost; the thought rose unbidden to his mind.
Mafia didn’t like me, except for the tickling game. It went like this.
The true Lesson of the Master is, simply, to husband one’s own stupidity.
They rose before us under a halo of lights like figures in a shrine.
Sublime or ridiculous, the poet seeks to constrain language.
Even the busiest of businessmen are out for the count, paying the price.
For years, all we showed her for her pains were two deaf ears.
Music that tells of how things stand in the troubled world you now have.
On Christmas Day, we lost one of our great advocates for poetry.
Children are never old enough to understand their parents’ affairs.
Gerard sat in the shadow, watching his son steal about like a thief.