This old man in the armchair’s plush embrace
waits for his thoughts to settle. He is not
my grandfather despite the wrinkled face,
gleaming skull, vast snout, gargly voice, and odd
twist of lips. They sound like men from the same
village in an old country bordering
on nowhere to be found again. He takes
a deep breath and shifts his weight, ordering
familiar words he has brought together
to address the final question of the night:
You see, I’m only a storyteller,
not a psychologizer. I just write
a beginning, a middle, and an end.
The meaning I leave to you, my good friend.
“Isaac Bashevis Singer in the Reading Room, 1968” appeared in Boulevard.
Floyd Skloot’s 18 books include the poetry collection “The End of Dreams” (Louisiana State University Press, 2006), the memoir “In The Shadow of Memory” (University of Nebraska Press, 2003) and the forthcoming “Revertigo: An Off-Kilter Memoir” (University of Wisconsin Press, 2014).