Unexpected Oracles

Lloyd Schwartz

“What is the answer?” [Long silence.] “In that case, what is
the question?”
      — Gertrude Stein, July 27, 1946

“When I told him, he was like, ‘Oh my God!’ and I was like, ‘Oh my God!’”

• •

“After he dug her up and removed her jewelry, we found him cutting her up into little pieces.”

• •

“My dad works on the Constitution — you know, that boat.”

• •

“How was Sweden?”
“Adored it! They drove us everywhere — no umbrellas, no boots, no raincoats. When we got home I said, Dear, let’s spend that Nobel money on our own limo.”

• •

“Teaching history was like looking in a mirror and seeing nothing.”

• •

“Today I felt so good, I tore up my Dead-to-Me list.”

• •

“At her age, she would have died anyway.”

• •

“It’s a luxury not knowing when you’re going to die. I wish I had that luxury.”

• •

“I define middle age as halfway between my age and death.”

• •

“That’s impossible! I haven’t finished being seven yet.”

• •

“Do you have a good memory or a bad one?”
“Yes.”

• •

“He told me I was suffering from a mild ridiculopathy.”

• •

If you need immediate assistance, press zero.

• •

“Nothing has ever happened to me in an elevator.”

• •

“You were always afraid that a boy might go too far—I was afraid he wouldn’t.”

. . .

Finish reading this poem in the Kenyon Review Nov/Dec 2015 issue, on sale now!

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