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April 2023 Issue [Readings]

Comparative Literature

From similes used by the critic Dwight Garner in book reviews for the New York Times since 2017.

Like frogs run over by a lawn mower

Like a goose dementedly stuffing its own liver

Like an octopus playing the bagpipes

Like an eagle outed as a mere tern

Like an armchair inside a snake

Like listening to someone trying to play “Long Tall Sally” on solo cello

Like reading the liner notes to a Frank Sinatra album at midnight through a glass of bourbon

Like being stranded in a bar where the jukebox has only two songs, both by Pat Benatar

Like watching Merle Haggard perform in an uptight club with a quiet policy and a two-drink minimum

Like a squash opponent who pockets your serve, walks off the court, and returns four months later to fire it back

Like a jittery teenager with bedhead, cystic acne, and moatlike halitosis who needs $50 and the car keys

Like a tour of a once-majestic eighteenth-century house now burned to its foundations that rejoices in what’s left amid the ashes

Like prolonged hallucinations

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April 2023

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