Reading is a kind of writing, the room seemed to wheeze

September 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

A wind-blown breathy sigh through the open window had toppled the totemic stack of papers. Its collapse hushed like a secret kept and as sudden as one told. Loose leaves fell together and scattered apart. Paragraphs were torn: their topics decapitated, bodies rent, conclusions riven. So many page ones exiled from twos, who were now strangers unrecognized to threes, though neighborly enough with fours to borrow power tools. Editorial arrows without their tips or quivers. Handwritten tonguey loops lapped up the blanks below and licked down everything above, bent forward, suffering legibility like a mule its load but unable to bear a breeze, as the letters spread across the floor — languages at the razed foot of Babel. The infidelity of salutations unsigned, Dears divorced of Sincerely, and promiscuous signatures, Yours, without addresses. The tower, when felled by the wind, crashed to the floor, mixing meanings like metaphors. “I want you” . . . to do what? The page underneath, now a different letter entirely, offered no clue. It spoke the same language but with a foreign tongue. This is how simple requests become amorous declarations. The characters of this correspondence, sensibly in extremis, contextually exhausted, collapsed. What sense could be made of the mess?

The room seemed to wheeze.

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