25. The Desires of Gulls and Pigeons

He learns that gulls, not sea gulls, like parking lots

and french fries. This is one advantage of reading

The New York Times, as he has for decades, reflexively,

almost like reading a monastic office, but now

it takes less time every day. The gulls like the open space

of a parking lot, the bounty of garbage bins,

the opportunities for sex on the roofs of malls.

He remembers sitting in his agent’s office one day

a dozen floors off 39th Avenue, half-listening

to the reasons no publisher would want his new book,

when two pigeons landed on the ledge and began

to copulate. Their eyes were wide and fixated

as if on some distant memory, instinct and pleasure

mingling, although it may have been projection

by a man who hadn’t been laid in months and began

to think the female pigeon looked mighty fine.

What are you looking at? his agent asked. My life.

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