Once I met Borges in a crowded room with his cane over his arm, led by a friend. He was looking up and a little to the left and seemed to be listening to words from above. One does not inherit courage, he had said in an essay on blindness. His courage had grown as his eyes failed him. I shook his hand, as close as I have ever come to worshiping a human, and he quickly wiped his palm with a white handkerchief. I was asking for only a secondhand blessing but I should have known better than to touch anyone who was having a conversation with God.
Richard Shelton is Regents Professor of English at the University of Arizona. He is the author of ten books of poetry and six chap-books. Shelton is the recipient of numerous awards, including the United States Award from the International Poetry Forum and two NEA Fellowships.