Michael Klein, "What He Was Reading"

by Mark Bibbins, Editor

What He Was Reading

You are watching the wind turn pages of a book
back and forth until the weight of them
stops it somewhere near the beginning.

Then, a breath moves some of what the wind had in its teeth
forward again and more again to beyond the place where you left off.

You have been watching as long as
morning takes to fill in the day’s picture of a man reading a book on a deck.

The wind’s as mortal as you are.
It won’t flatter you with a future before you finish where you are.

The wind stops on the page
you were reading before it came to turn the rest of everything

back and forth — suspended, like a trick, as if
the book’s secret isn’t what you

already know, but looking down,
what you already know in the light of what you already know.

Michael Klein’s first book of poems, 1990, tied with James Schuyler to win a Lambda Literary award in 1993. His second book of poems, then, we were still living, has just been published by GenPop Books. He has poems forthcoming in Assaracus, Lambda Literary, and prose forthcoming in Fence and Poets & Writers. He teaches in the MFA Program at Goddard College in Port Townsend, WA.