March 27, 2012

Tim Skeen

FETISH

I’m not psychotic; I’m just hungry.
—Peter Lorre

The rhythm of the photocopier
and the clarity of the images
excite me. The first page of semicolons
appears in the document tray.

12 point type gives me 5,934 semicolons.
Anything smaller than 12 point type
is pornography. I examine the page
for flaws. The paper warms my fingers.

I run 50 pages, which I spread out
on the table. 296,700 semicolons.
How disappointing. I thought
there would be more, but there are reams

left on the shelf, and after they’re gone,
whole catalogues devoted to more paper
and toner. There’s even a maintenance
agreement. I am perhaps two decades

from retirement, and not at all selfish
or unreasonable or obsessed with numbers
or size. At 72 point type I can get 147
semicolons on each page. Between

12 point and 72 point, between Arial
and Harrington and Verdana,
there are so many possibilities,
all delightful and mine.

from Rattle #25, Summer 2006