What the hell is wrong with that book,
he asks, listening to Dad attempt a reading
out loud of the third paragraph of Finnegans Wake.
What the hell is wrong with that book, Dad?
Well, for starters, there’s a word in the paragraph
in question, the third word in the first sentence,
in parentheses, that’s 100 letters strong and ends
in an exclamation mark, of course.
The boy hears the word
and understandably wonders about
the novel’s literary merits,
clearly does not understand the word
as a possible metaphor for the origin
of everything, eventually spewing out
Finnegan at short notice,
sending any unquiring ones
in quest of his tumptytomtoes.
See? As plain as the day is long.