Thumbing the edges
of uneven book pages,
like firecrackers.

(First published by Suisun Valley Review in issue #30, spring 2013.)

The Anatomy of Public Reading

When I stand up and begin
to read, the words
peel themselves off
the page. They meander
to my fingers and crawl
up, slink over knuckle
over knuckle over knuckle
and then they trace
the greenish vein up
the inside of my arm.
When they meet the bend
in my arm, they squeeze
between the upper half called
humerus and the lower half
called ulna and radius.
It is there that they
dive in sharply, pricking
through epidermis
through dermis
and they splash
into my blood,
which is red
after all; they mingle with
erythrocytes and leukocytes
and thrombocytes, and I
recall what was said by
Rudyard Kipling, wherein:
“Words are, of course,
the greatest drug used
by mankind.”

(First published by Mosaic in issue #52, in spring 2013.)


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