whisper

i like to sleep in a bed
full of books, their leaves rustling
and resting on my bedsheets.
(if i leave my window open just right
the breeze riffles idly
through the pages. i hope
it likes jane austen.)

my favorites are the paperbacks
with well-thumbed pages, edges all soft and feathered
and haloed in the light with the repetition
of countless readings, and these
i gather close enough to brush my skin, close
enough to press passionately
to my heart, because

i love these books. i adore
the smooth glossy abstract covers and the careful shape
and spacing of the typeface, and most of all
i like the novels sectioned
into uneven raggedness and serrated edges
that look just like nibbles
taken by literary mice.

from these come the words i read over
and over again, borders dipped
in sepia. these i bathe in the antique light
of the tea-colored autumn afternoon, drinking in
that familiar scent of freshly delivered
just-printed novel and yellowed
secondhand book. (though there are ever less

and less of these, because i
want them new. i want them virgin,
untouched, spines splitting for the first time
underneath my fingers, because when they are written in,
read, owned, abandoned—
their memories are not mine and never
will be.)

and so at midnight
i fall into dreams with maugham,
lewis, l'engle, forster, books
piled high around me, whispering
secrets while i sleep. (i listen,
but i never can remember what they say
in the morning.)

hours later, i wake to warm
golden light and tiny
shallow papercuts and bedmates far older
and wiser than i. tell me
again, i say, fingers half
tracing words. i swear i'll remember
this time.

but everything looks different
in the sunlight: ink
stark and black against ivory paper, voices
asleep during the daytime, even poetry
prosaic. and though i lie silent
and waiting, my thoughts
remain unanswered.

it happens every morning: eventually
i give up. and no matter how
slowly i move, paperbacks always
go tumbling in a waterfall off
my bed, fanning onto the floor, casting angular
shadows across my too-bright room, and making me wonder
if i even dreamed it all that night.

but every evening i collect stacks
of novels around me again, drowsing
in books and dreaming in languages not
my own, hoping to capture what always
escapes me at dawn, and hoping, i think, that my bed
full of books will speak to me
and tell me what i'm looking for.

-

4.09.09

inspired by my friend yasmin's facebook status, which was:

Yasmin _______ likes to sleep in a bed full of books; the smell, the paper-cuts, the off chance of knowledge gained via osmosis.