There was a book of poetry next to the empty bottle of wine and unused glasses, and the best use of that poetry at this minute was to tear out the pages, crumple them into kindling, and get to work with those two sticks. But what was one actually supposed to do with two sticks? Form an X and rub one back and forth along the length of the other? Concentrate just on an inch or two in the middle of the sticks? How long were the sticks supposed to be? Quarter diameter twigs or inch diameter sticks? Or was it best to spin the tip of a twig on a single point on the top of a log? What precautions were necessary to prevent a lawsuit from the park system for burning down the woods?
If there had been any wine left (which there wasn't, so the question was academic) would dumping some over the sticks or log or crumpled pages of poetry help start the fire (alcohol fumes) or retard the creation of a flame (moisture)? How the hell is a person supposed to find sticks in a clearing on a moonless night without a flashlight? Would a page of e e cummings burn brighter than a page of Walt Whitman, would Emily Dickinson char and smolder without ever catching alight, would William Carlos Williams burn as brightly red as his wheelbarrow?
the New Yorker Food Issue, which contains an interesting spin on rice pudding
cast off, just in time for overcoat season