The Pleasures of Reading, by CHARLES SIMIC

On his deathbed my father is reading

The memoirs of Casanova.

I'm watching the night fall,

A few windows being lit across the street.

In one of them a young woman is reading

Close to the glass.

She hasn't looked up in a long while,

Even with the darkness coming.

While there's still a bit of light,

I want her to lift her head,

So I can see her face

Which I have already imagined,

But her book must be full of suspense.

And besides, it's so quiet,

Every time she turns a page,

I can hear my father turn one too,

As if they are reading the same book.

From "A Wedding in Hell" by Charles Simic. (Harcourt Brace & Company: $19.95, hardcover; $11.95, paperback; 96 pp.) 1994 Reprinted by permission.

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