This book I’m reading now my mother read and loved. You can get this close to the dead and no closer. I like to imagine her smiling or sighing over a passage. I wonder what she said about this book when she got to the last sentence. And if there was anyone there to listen. I wasn’t. There. Or listening. Away at college, I wasn’t reading either, though I was allegedly majoring in English literature. Mostly I was making love, or trying to. And drinking and smoking and feeling existential. When she called, I talked little, half listened, scribbling on the wall beside the pay phone.