Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2019  Vol. 18 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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The Literary Scholar

the literary scholar lives alone the literary scholar is at work on a very important book of criticism and cannot be bothered a hired girl comes each morning to fry his egg at a dinner party, the literary scholar drinks a glass of port and corrects your transitive use of the intransitive verb transform language is a heavy book kept on his shelf, leather-bound with blinking eyes and purple teeth, the literary scholar tells the dinner table about the brilliant story he wrote at university, about its rich symbolism the truth is—the literary scholar thinks stories are only good for their symbols the truth is—the literary scholar doesn’t much like novelists or poets or playwrights or dogs but oh would the literary scholar like to be loved her hair would be chestnut, and she would copy out his pages by hand on the list of things the literary scholar doesn’t know: what he would do with a chestnut-haired lover’s nipples and that he is writing the same book he already wrote—a book no one read ever closer to a breakthrough, the literary scholar promises (though you didn’t ask), sweeping his thinning hair across his liver-white head  

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