My mother's sole criteria for choosing men.

Funny - she's been married to my father all these years but I still see the light in her eyes every time she hears a deep rumbly voice reading a good T.S. Eliot poem out loud. My father does it well, although unconsciously. He looks like a little boy being called on by the teacher to read something he is embarrassed to admit is beautiful, all squirmy and nervous, but somehow right.

When she reads out loud she tries too hard. You can't think too much about these things - the words will do that for you once you get going. She squeezes the juice out of the good words and breezes by the small fun ones, pausing every minute or so to look pensively at her audience. I try hard not to laugh. She hates that.

Like my mother, I would love to find a man who knows how to read poetry. The kind of poetry you can read to each other in a tent and only feel a little embarrassed. The kind of poetry you can smile to and then forget about for a while, letting the words hit you but not really all the way, and then return to it and smile again. Maybe I'm expecting too much.

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