This morning the Carolina wren is singing his signature tune in a minor key. What’s different, I wonder? Or should I instead be asking: what’s the same?


Sleet rattles against the empty shell of the old nail factory, passes through the missing panes of once-gray windows that stretched the length of the block.


In every book its receipt, saved for a bookmark. One can tell at a glance which among the thousands of volumes he has read clear to the end, & in which ones after a night or two of perusal he planted the white flag of surrender. Two ranks deep, the books crowd the shelves, immigrants bristling with the evidence of far-flung births.

(Prompted by a remark in the comments to a post at languagehat.)


That last line deserves a page of its own, the printer thinks. How else to rescue these shopworn words from irrelevance? A ladybug beetle has just drowned in the half-inch of cold coffee in the mug at his elbow. An hour from now he will think to reach for it, & stop in mid-sip. Is it just him, or has it always been this bitter?

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