David Galef



When I mishear—or misconstrue—it’s like I’m seeing double.
Is “on the rocks” a drink with ice, a relationship in trouble,
Or maybe a Spanish galleon, shipwrecked on the rocks? Or
“Seeing stars”: astronomer, Hollywood agent, or boxer?
At times I’m so confused, I don’t know where I am.
When someone tells me, “beat it”: whisk an egg or scram?
To “make a mint,” do I grow rich or cook confectionary?
When “milking it for all its worth,” should I end up with dairy?
If “passing out” in class, am I distributing or fainting?
Does “well hung” point to amply endowed or just refer to painting?
And where exactly does meaning hover
In “burning desire”: arsonist or lover?
I’d like to keep it simple, just one sense, but then—
Is “a run on the bank” to kill at roulette or jog along the Seine?

David Galef is a shameless eclectic, with over a dozen books in two dozen directions, including the novel Flesh, the short story collection My Date with Neanderthal Woman, and the poetry collections Flaws and Kanji Poems. His latest volume is Brevity: A Flash Fiction Handbook, from Columbia University Press. He is a professor of English and the creative writing program director at Montclair State University.