by Chana Bloch
(published inThe Atlantic, December 1997)
Trying to strike a match in a matchbook
that has lain all winter under the woodpile:
on sodden cardboard.
I catch myself yawning. Through the window
I watch that sparrow the cat
keeps batting around.
Like turning the pages of a book the teacher assigned—
You ought to read it, she said.
It’s great literature.