A typo made me masterful—“the most eye-popping moment in the history of English poetry.” And it wasn’t even mine, it was the publisher’s mistake, so I can’t claim it’s Freudian. I didn’t catch it in the galleys, but that really can’t be chalked up to immortal genius. I if I had noticed, would I have corrected it? I’ll never know.

I live in fear a faceless clerk at Oxford will compare my PDF with what they printed, and expose me as a fraud. Or that some wannabe in Typeset will claim credit for herself. Remember Baron Davis and his “herniated dick”? But that will never see the Oxford Book of English Verse, to which my incognito literary act of God is bound.

It’s like those Rubens counterfeits. If they’re exposed, then everybody must admit that some four-flusher’s work is just as wonderful as his. If literary genius is revealed as accidental—something typed out, as it were, by our unlettered chimp—then all the literary lights are driven down a notch, in the direction of stray chance.

And me—alas, poor me! All eyes are on me now to spring another lightning-flash upon the fang-eyed readership, and I’m left praying, striving, crazed to reach the level of a fluke! The random-writing bots—Air’s spicy bucket cursed his lip—just mock me in my quest, as does my wife, who may suspect. She taunts, “Just try your best.”

Tom Riordan lives in New Jersey. He’s a retired restaurant worker and teacher, and dreams about becoming pope for his next career.

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