This book offers a prize for the guess that's closest to the actual number
of times the phrase "this book" appears in this book.
This next book couldn't care less.
This other book... / the man closes the book.
The woman closes the man.
The author closes the woman inside of the bookthis book.
The books are all closed, now.
They're closed, and piled, and burning.
They're endless columns of smoke. Do you remember "paper"?
An "author"? "continuity"?
They're the charry heart of a cloud now.
Then, in time, a charry and potent rain.
Some words are both an idea and the refutation of that idea: "bound," for
example, functions this way. "Tied up." "Leap away from."
"Close," the same.
The ground is damp with it now.
Close, as in "shut."
But also "nearby," "in empathy with."
The ground is damp and alive. The papyrus is thick.
The man and the woman are on the reedy shore of that river.
And the way that "read" exists in "reed."
Also "over." It's "over": it's done.
It's happening "over": it isn't done.
The snail sings as it's being boiled.
The glaze on the pot begins to write as it begins to crack.
Do you think you can shut this book?
Just try. I dare you.
The book is "bound."
A breeze stirs through the reeds: a singer adjusting the strings
of a harp.
Our eyelids can't descend without the appearance of starburst words
in that dark.
So much. Just try. I dare you.
This book is over.
It isn't done.
Copyright © 2001 by Albert Goldbarth.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
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