I sit down at my desk and for another hour

record in my composition book everything I have been thinking.

I smile to myself as I see on paper what

I thought last night before I dozed off at midnight.

I am reminded of a story about Sartre coming out

of his study one day and seeing a cousin of

his, tending to her children, and Sartre saying, “No exit.”

A working title, I think, and record in the white

window of the composition book the French words Huis clos.

My barren life has become a hell with no exit.


Paraphrases from the novel Zuckerman Unbound by Philip Roth.