[Once she had a book]

Once she had a book
whose lines furled east to west like Siberian trains
Black smoke erupted from its pages when sentences tangled,
some hurtling into each other,
some conjoined, a small group that decided
to reach the word end before dark

He was an indoor book
fearful of winds that could fill him with sadness, with ill-spoken words
He recognized the woman by her smell: cumin and ink

She laughed with him
slept with him
her finger tapping in the darkness of his alphabet, paused in the same delirious

A book in tatters walks down the village’s only street
the shoemaker adds a sole to the sentence that limps
the blacksmith offers a horseshoe to avert the evil eye
and the teacher teaches the first three letters

She had a second dream three nights before the great harvest: Her book sewn into the coffin waiting outside her door

Translated from French by Cheney Crow.

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap