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It is widely acknowledged that there are two kinds of writers: the living / and the dead.
This is false.
Given time, a writer will always die.
Once dead, they will spend infinitely more time dead / than they did alive.
A living writer is therefore only infinitesimally alive.
In other words, they're already / dead.
Since dead writers are dead / and living writers are also
dead / all writers are dead.
To write is therefore to die.
But you the reader because / you are the reader are always / alive.
If you die you are by definition not a reader.
This is the immortality afforded by literature.
It is not given to the writer, as so many writers have wrongly supposed.
It is given to the reader, and then only so long as they are a reader:
it will not prevent somebody who has been a reader from dying.
But while you are a reader you are deathless
because you are reading. Be kind, then, reader:
you are alive / because I am dead.
Sam Cha is a poet, teacher, editor, and translator. His work has appeared in, or is forthcoming from, several places, including apt, Anderbo, Better, Best New Poets 2016, decomP, DIAGRAM, Memorious, Missouri Review, Rattle, and RHINO. He’s a poetry editor at Radius. He lives and writes in Cambridge.
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