Thursday, May 3, 2018

we are underwater

The other day, we walked into my room, turned into devastation.
Rain had soaked my chestnut floors and covered my bible and Pablo Neruda driftwood poem in water.

We clean it up with dish towels and I refrain from tears to keep the flood from multiplying. We close the windows. I keep them open, because I like to remember that I am part of what's outside, and the membrane of what's between us is permeable.

I dream at precisely midnight that the rain came through my windows again, all over a room which was bare, the water droplets speckled over the stripped wood floor. The man said to me: This is what comes of putting your books on windowsills. You need to keep them in bookshelves. 

What was odd was that it hadn’t even occurred to me that the issue was in part the fact that I do not keep those books away on shelves. Is that where books belong?

He seemed quite sure they did.
Really? I thought.
All of them?

I didn't feel a failure, the way dentists make you feel about your teeth when you present them with your cavity-striken molars. Rather, I felt a new way of seeing.

Perhaps the way to keep books from getting wet when rain blows through the windows horizontally is to keep them on book shelves, perpetually.

On book shelves, far from windows, they will transpire lives of safety. They will be protected from the elements and preserved for progeny to come. If I am conscientious enough, they will last 500 years and end up in a bon mot enthusiast's living room in Milwaukee to round out his literary reliquary.

But books are made for living. They are not trophies to stock shelves and collect the dust which would otherwise scatter, but companions to steer you through rough seas.

I will risk the rain-soaked page to keep them at my fingertips, lining the corners of my living room, and rounding out what of life can be gleaned from rain, swamped rugs gently laid to dry in kitchens, and literary keys.

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