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Page 58

I wonder if our first step in creating
real space out of literary space
is the tiny elevation we give
(pushing back the blankness)
to the print on the page, not the thickness
of printer's ink, barely perceived
by expert fingertips stroking the page,
but the elevation our eyes create?

Not that we need literature
to create space. Besides, reading can be a way
to forget that there is such a thing as space
(or all the things that space might conceal),
a way to splurge on a spurious space
until we've become addicted to it,

as people compulsively read the daily news
to feel connected to a grimy gray world
they mistake for their own. It is a strange
and bracing moment, when, long immersed
in reading about all the places in "the world"
where it is unsafe to be and all the words
spoken by people who say the things
people always say in newspapers ("We'll
take it one game at a time", "I can't
comment on a case in progress") and all the
spaces forbidden us (peopled only by
unnamed sources and officials close to
the president) -- it is bracing (like

looking with both eyes after days
of having one eye bandaged -- the thrill
of rediscovering depth) to look up, feel
that one is sitting on a bench under a tree,
that a woman is walking a large dog
over there on the grass -- she catches
your eye briefly, smiles. There's sunlight
breaking through a purplish gray sky,

pigeons, the darkened bronze statue
of a dead president, one unnamed pigeon
close to the president's ear...

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