pg. 112

Designed by Zawar Ahmed

I would have 
lain in absolute silence 
If you told me the world was not for you today
I would have shown you with my eyes
that I am not the world 
and held my breath 
until our heartbeats rose and fell 
in harmony 

And we would rest together 
In that ember-warm library that is your mind 
I’d lay my spine along the flat of the table
and prop my head against Collected Fictions
So that you could shim off your shoes 
and tuck your cheek against the embrace
of the green velvet armchair 

there would be no intrusions 
I would make sure of it 
And you would settle into a solitary dream 
so that I could walk the lengths of your shelves
Pulling down books at random 
to meet the moments you’ve held on to 
to meet the people who walked this library before me 

In a frightening act of jealousy 
or courage 
or self-destruction 
I would dog-ear my page in Collected Fictions
And lay it atop the mantle 
so that next time 
you are forced to find a place for it on your shelves
Or perhaps to read it 
Or perhaps to return it to me, unopened 

and if you had awoken 
To lift your half-dreamt gaze against my patient eyes
I would have kissed you 
in the warm silence of your mind

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