i. the bibliophile

Spiderwebbing through these days, she brushes off the threads of other lives. Hidden beneath a carapace knitted tight by early betrayals and parched neglect, her sweetness dried up long ago, she now leaves faint trails of crystalline sugar only when caught unaware. She likes to stay put, but the days keep moving her forward. Chased by fleet-footed minutes down labyrinthine chambers, she ends each day exhausted, prostrate upon the wooden floor with aching limbs. In conversation, scarce at best, she is laconic. Words leave her lips like tiny hailstones, melting before anyone ever hears. At the market, the vendors all know her. She need not speak to them; they hand over what she requires and she walks away, a tall column of silence gliding down the sidewalk. Her dark clothing fits close, her dark hair covered with a scarf. She is noiseless in crepe-soled shoes. Up the marble steps, she passes through glass to the walls of books within. Hours later she emerges into the twilight, her long arms laden with dusty clothbound relics of literature’s bygone eras. Climbing the hill toward home, she peers at the dark pines perched on the distant hillside, shaking in this early winter’s gales. Her eyes water and her teeth chatter as she hurries now. Inside her warm room, she puts the kettle on, lies down on the floor to ease her quaking limbs. She gazes at the books piled on the table and sighs, knowing there is now fuel enough to feed the inferno forever in her head.

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  1. What an uneasy and menacing piece of writing – the image of books burning inside her head – the fuel for thought and survival….

  2. this is gorgeous writing. I want to save it, like I used to do in scrapbooks. I have an unopened Moleskin that would be perfect.

  3. Thanks to you both. The beginnings of this came to me in the early morning as I was out with Farley in the woods. We were on a little-used trail with many downed trees from the recent storms here. There were hundreds of spider webs stretched across the trail, and when I got home I kept finding tiny threads of them on my shirt. It seemed imperative to start with that for some reason.

  4. “Words leave her lips like tiny hailstones” – my favourite part. Lovely writing.



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