For days now, the air has been been thunderous and heavy. Glasses of ice tea leave wet circles on the table. All of the bathroom towels refuse to dry. The house smells like fried eggs and old dog. Over breakfast my son crows about last night's high school soccer scores: "Thirteen to one! They lost thirteen to one! How is that even possible?" At the porch window, the dew-soaked cat yowls to come in, and I think of the opening stanza of Jane Kenyon's "The Pear."
There is a moment in middle ageReading Roth's novel, I've felt the shadowy weakness of my own mind. Is my broken bow just another talisman, a physical metaphor for the stupid accidents of toil and mediocrity? Fortunately, melodrama comes easily to me, as does the ability to laugh at my own windiness. Still, the fear prickles, a portent, like the specter of a migraine. "You may not be aware / until things have gone too far."
when you grow bored, angered
by your middling mind,