I turned the page of the old book
and was ready to read the end
of the chapter. That’s when I
noticed a pimpling of the pulp.
Booklice had moved in, bumping
up against passages, as foreign
as phrases I’d have to look up or
like marginalia by some other hand.
The tiny reduced-wing wildlife,
relegated to domesticated booklife,
was cream-colored like the pages
it had chosen for wordly habitation,
and I also couldn’t help but think
about how the page’s punctuation
—the bug wasn’t much bigger
than a comma but appeared shaped
more like an exclamation point—
had decided to move around, how
small symbols can shift meanings
of the sentences resting on the page.
For this interloper, this interjection
instinctively brushed off, I figured
it would take flight as the smallest
and plainest of angels wish to do.
About the Author: Ronnie Sirmans is an Atlanta print newspaper digital editor whose poems have appeared in Tar River Poetry, Deep South Magazine, Atlanta Review, The American Journal of Poetry, Fathom, and elsewhere.
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Image Credit: Jan Davidsz de Hem “Still Life With Books and Violin” (1628) Public Domain.