Ode to the Page
Surface that carries thought across seas
and centuries, gives us histories, fantasies,
hope of any larger fate than apparent
fate, your two dimensions
pacify and arouse.
Bound into novel, journal, guide,
I touch your edge with my finger’s edge:
“He got up and went to the window,” you say,
or announce a bull fight in Pamplona,
someone’s best words, or God’s . . . or, reduced,
you’re a chit, a ticket; thickened, a card.
I can flip through you, tear you, fold, fan you,
stare at my hand that holds you
“. . . now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping . . . ”
Thin skin dimly perceived as I follow
the words’ track, flimsy matter that vanishes
into its function, ink’s habitat,
you rolled across the plate, took the press’s
weigh, bear the imprint or inkjet’s spray,
the contrast that illuminates
the All that carries, if ever
a substance has, différence.
And if one day there is
no human I may touch, for solace and flight,
I will hold your brittle thinness close
until the story I am disappears
into your inky tattoos.