The Novel


For two days I’ve been crying,
from Paris to Rome, from Rome to Palermo,
weeping and sobbing here on the train
over a nineteenth-century novel.
Some paragraphs are so beautiful
I lean my head against the window
while villages fly past
like books I’ll never open.
When I come to the last few sentences
of an exquisitely painful chapter,
I drop the novel in my lap
or crush it to my chest
and cover my face with my hands,
trembling and shaking.

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