By Sue MacLeod
Especially in the afternoon when light slants
through the window, grazing her cheek on its way to the page.
For a woman who appreciates that kind of light
for reading. Especially in mornings, when coffee makers
groan. When everyone else is still climbing, still hand-
over-handing their way
up from dreams. For the book
that fell into the bath
and was fished out--quickly. For the line
that swam before her as she fell
asleep. In stolen time: the check-out line, the way to work.
In fits and starts of traffic, in the press
of bodies. Especially
for anyone who's ever missed
her stop. For anyone who's laughed out loud while reading
in a restaurant. Or ever thought of writing
to a stranger:
You told my story. How did you know?
Especially for a teenage girl whose touch
turns bookmarks into ash. And so
she uses rubber bands, a roll of tape, a stray sock, a receipt, or my book
to hold her place open. Who won't
come to supper till she finishes her page.
For a grandmother I know
about, who stirred with a book in one hand. For everyone stirring
with words in their hands. For anyone who's ever grasped
a book in two hands.
Hold your breath and crack it open.
For books that have burned to be written. Books
thrown into the fire
because supper wasn't ready, or her chores had not been done.
For anyone who's ever had anyone
All that reading makes you think too much.
Especially when the leaves against the window
are a chorus from another time.
When evening comes, a woman stretches one curved arm to reach
the light behind her. She is reading
while the birds take roost, and punctuate
the branches. Reading till her book is finished. Reading
like a girl.