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26| Pick Up the Nearest Book to You, Turn to Page 45. The Second Sentence Explains Your Love Life

Michael D. Snediker


One can only judge on the facts.
And yet I can read you with rapture.
It forms a net so slack that everything slips
through. All things unto our flesh are kind.
You can hold a coin in your hand and yet
not touch its value. Where we think
we have words, “a virtual trail of fires”
shoots through us. The fields are rotting
as the ice lets go. Look in the hundreds
of persons that each of us knows.
The Essential Cause of the Itch appears
to be a Vast Number of Minute Animals.
He was a lucky fox that left his tail in the trap.
Please don’t let on that I wrote to you.

[Thomas James, Letters to a Stranger, no page 45]
[Leo Bersani, The Forms of Violence, no page 45]
[Claudia Rankine, Don’t Let Me be Lonely, no page 45]

Michael D. Snediker is the author of The Apartment of Tragic Appliances: Poems (Punctum Books, 2013), Queer Optimism: Lyric Personhood and Other Felicitous Persuasions (Minnesota, 2007), and Contingent Figure: Aesthetic Duress from Nathaniel Hawthorne to Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (under contract, Minnesota). He is Associate Professor of English at the University of Houston.

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