L’Origine du Garamond


“To be born” is to be fatally passive—I débuted.

In Central Park. The back of a cab. Horse-drawn of course: steed rearing, driver clutching his hat and waxing pale. His coattails flecked with blood. The vendor of salted nuts offering his tongs as forceps. Father laboring to appear composed as Mother groaned: “Not here, not here!”

She meant the country. Oh, it wasn’t that godawful as a place to take a trip— but as a claim upon my citizenship! She’d almost rather see me cleft in two… Yet, she let go. The driver swooned. The steed stood still. The vendor held me high: the throngs greeted my vocal warmups with a cheer.

I had arrived—a bit before my cue— but Mother swore we’d never travel there again. Soon I was flying back at breathless speed in dreams—drawn homeward, homeward without halt… At five I begged, “Can’t I go? I’m American!” She laughed and turned away. “That’s not my fault.”