Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A dark morning, glimmering with snow. I can hear the town plow trucks beeping and clanking at the sand pile, the tires of cars grating over the pebbled slush on the road. I expected to be on my way to high school this morning, primed to teach another poetry class; but yesterday's snow day has thrown off the weekly schedule, so instead I am sitting here in my pink flannel bathrobe listening to the downstairs burble of headlines, to the trucks at the sand pile, to the hum of a refrigerator busily recharging its ice after an overnight without electricity.

I've been reading Little Dorrit--more like swallowing Little Dorrit in greedy chunks, forgetting to chew, and occasionally choking on it. What is it about Dickens that transforms me into such a sloppy reader? I've been filling out crossword puzzles, filling out Christmas cards, reading recipes, editing manuscripts, circling and circling my own work like a bemused shark. I can't seem to stop inventing mixed metaphors or scrolling through car-radio stations. What am I hoping to find there? My choices are (1) Rush Limbaugh, (2) Rod Stewart, (3) Taylor Swift, (3) football announcers, (4) public radio news yack, none of which fits my bill, whatever that bill might be. And all of this scanning is foolish, considering that my husband has the largest record collection in the western hemisphere. I could listen to Lionel Hampton all day long. But for now all I listen to are sand trucks and squirrels and my own accidental hiccups and murmurs.

Give me a reason for living, plead the radio voices . . . even Rush. How he must suffer under the weight of that hideous soul. Beyond a film of trees, a school bus rumbles over the gritty pavement. My thoughts are mundane. I cannot disguise my ordinary eye. I read Little Dorrit like a schoolgirl reads Twilight. Sometimes I think, All I have to share is pity.

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