I was in the library browsing. I go there when I’m lost. To find myself in the pages. Among the stacks. The smell of books is the smell of home.
I noticed an old volume with a tattered, worn red binder. Not in its right place. As I stooped to look I wondered why it would be on the floor under the lowest of the shelves. Almost out of sight. The title read Mysteries Past, Present and Future. When I picked it up the book it shivered. Which made me drop it. Books should not shiver.
So I looked at it a while. A thing that should not do what it had done. The pages had opened when it fell. I made the mistake of looking too long. That’s when I fell into the book. The wood shelves and the smell of home disappeared as gravity pulled me in. My dress fluttered in the wind made by my fall and I screamed a little but forgot to make a sound. The scream echoed around in my head. My landing was gentle and unexpected.
I am standing on the greenest grass I have ever felt wondering why my shoes are not on my feet and pondering where they have gone. The beautiful man is looking at me. His eyes are fire. His hair is long and fine. He is carved or chiseled. I cannot decide which. I want to touch him but I am afraid because I know he is not real.
“I am a poem,” he says. I say nothing. What would a girl say to a poem anyhow. We are silent for a while.
I see the grass blow gently in the wind. I look down at my feet and wiggle my toes. The sun warms me. He looks at me and I do not know anything except that I want to know everything.
“I used to be war,” he says. “But I was tired so I became a poem. I had died one too many times and the bleeding was making me weak. I was eternally hungry and I needed to be something else. Would you like to know me?”
I only nodded. Unable to speak.
The sun turned black. I disappeared and we were stars with the eyes of eagles. He twinkled at me from inside impossibility and then all the stars around us twinkled. “Those are ghosts,” he said. They are all already dead. This light we are is always moving, always changing, always being reborn in other universes. I am a poem.” He twinkled again.
I felt the baby inside me. And it was him. He spoke to me. “Life is the greatest gift. The understanding of love washes all sins away in tsunamis that cannot be denied. When I was hungry on the floor of the library you loved me without knowing what it was you were about to love. I thank you.” He was born then, in an instant.
I screamed in pain and thankfulness as he stepped into the world from between my legs. He looked at me in a way no one ever has or ever will again. The oldest newborn. Helpless, silent, all knowing. Needing me. Needing love. Needing to exist.
“I am a poem,” he cried. I understood everything and I held him in my arms. We didn’t speak for a while. He warmed me. I warmed him. Then he suckled and the understanding grew. Something shifted again.
I am standing in front of a mirror looking at myself. And he is standing behind me. In a warmly lit boudoir that is tastefully decorated. We are both naked and wrinkled. He is covered in a story that is tattooed on his skin. The words flow downward from his neck. They are coiling around his form. Alive and ever changing. The color of his eyes is changing too. He wraps his arms around me and whispers in my ear.
“Isn’t time beautiful? Can you see yet?” I realize that I can. And he starts to pleasure me from behind. We are old and this is the loveliest thing I’ve ever done. I close my eyes and let him fill me up. He moans and I moan and we become a song that rises and falls gently in waves.
We sing together for a while and enjoy our time as a harmony. We read for a while and we become stories. We dance for a while and we become an endless flow. Time stands still and time spreads out in every direction seeking life and understanding of life. I can see from the beginning to the end with my eyes closed.
When I open them I am in the library again. My home. Among the stacks. Waiting to be instructed. I have lived here forever. In infinite possibilities and endless gnawing wishes for understanding. In words that undulate and change depending on the vantage point from which they are read.
He is a poem and he is my master. I clutch his red, cracked spine to my breasts and hold him tight for a while. When I can bring myself to share him I will put him back where I found him under the shelves forgotten and eternally waiting for you.