For Lydia Davis

13 June 2002

This evening on the subway I saw a man reading a comb-bound book with a green cover. From the side I could see diagrams, small circles arranged in orderly polygons. I reasoned that I was seeing diagrams of aromatic molecules. Perhaps this man was a medical student on his way to a class at GWU.

The I read the phrases “four couples…,” “partner…,” “in a circle or a square…” The book was a manual of square dance patterns, hundreds of them.

In the man’s hand I could see a walkman and a bandanna, folded, printed with stars and stripes.