blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1




          Name of printed books in the second half of the 15th century, from the
          Latin meaning “in infancy” or “earliest beginnings”

The first room dark as an aquarium:
bark floats behind glass.
The air is cool and loose

because this is the beginning.
My hands inside your shirt.
My hands sliding over your back.

Inner bark of trees. Outer
bark: white birch. Papyrus plants
grew thick as a man’s wrist

beside the Nile. Walk through.
Remembering. In the second room,
parchment couples with vellum,

sheepskin, calfskin. Paper made from
flesh. My hands inside.  How we
kept the past purposefully dark.

In the third: wood pulp can be
fashioned into a collar, cuspidor,
bonnet, apron, hat.

Pull the paper shirt off, over
your head, seams scratching.
Last glass case: here is a card

composed of small dark windows.
Look into the stereoscope
to see the future:

the light was cool and loose that day.
Our old selves unlocatable,
written and crossed out.

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