He wrote the whole novel in his head, Sentence by sentence. It took him all day. Then he took out a wide-ruled yellow legal pad With three pink vertical lines marking the left margin, And from his breast pocket he extracted A disposable plastic fountain pen, And near the top of the page he wrote the word ODE In black ink, all caps. For a few minutes he did nothing. Then he skipped three lines and wrote, "It was the greatest birthday present he had ever received: The manual Smith-Corona typewriter His parents gave him on the day he graduated from high school After they took him to the Statler Hilton for lunch, Where they had cold poached salmon, his father's favorite."
Copyright © 2012 by David Lehman. Used with permission of the author.