STEALING THE BOOK
What happened to my signed first edition of Auden?
Stolen, I suspect, though I lack any evidence.
An abomination—even medieval monks
formulated byzantine book-thievery curses:
For such a sin, let book worms and mites ingurgitate
broth brewed fresh from his hell-incinerated ashes.
But I am not full of vengeance and I wish no pain
on fellow bibliophiles, only that their hands do
quake and tremble, so that words squirm beyond discernment
when they read, that they become their own antonyms, that
sentences invert to palindromes, so star becomes
rats, straw becomes warts, and so that my book in their hands
is transformed into an altogether different book.
Leonard Kress has published poetry and fiction in Massachusetts Review, Iowa Review, Crab Orchard Review, American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, and others. His recent collections are The Orpheus Complex, Living in the Candy Store, and Braids & Other Sestinas. He teaches philosophy, religion, and creative writing at Owens College in Ohio.
Image credit: Geoffrey Fairchild on Flickr
Read more from Cleaver Magazine’s Issue #10.