Our Atlas of Imagination

Every row upon every bookshelf
is a home to
our atlas of imagination.
The mysterious and various
weights

of sex,
of solitude,
of love,
of hate,
and of hunger
sit patiently, day and night,
upon slabs of wood,
and swell inside
the rectangular paper frames
that carry them.

Each sheet is
creased with fingerprints
and mottled with
dehydrated beads of liquid—
alternate inks
which it has absorbed readily,
like a thirsty sponge—
visible in
burgundy blooms
and earth tones,
and invisible,
originating from
bodily hollows
and pores the size of
pinpricks.

To trace the stains,
tears, and sloping letters
that hold the pages together
like careful stitches
is to follow a particular
human map,
revealed or obscured,
every so precisely,
through the accumulation
of fragments,
run-on sentences, and
sharp flecks of punctuation;

it’s to follow a certain
tale of transit—
whether to or from
some hot orange climate,
whether ending in
movement
(fluid and continuous),
or whether ending in a
pause.

It’s to grapple with
and dissect
the anatomy of
home
and of
poetry.

*

When we close our books,
draw the blinds,
run our fingers
smoothly, routinely,
downwards along
plastic light-switches,
and slip ourselves inside our
white cotton envelopes,

our atlas of imagination
doesn’t shut its eyes with us
and become some
twilight thing of the dead;
it remains of the day,
blinking fiercely
in our dreams.

X is a writer.

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