Wherein the Book Implies Source
And words form the vessel by which we traverse centuries, the river
stitched across the valley’s floor, easing access.
Accession by choice. Inorganic memory.
Vellum conveys its origin: of a calf.
How like an entrance it appears, a doorway to a lighted space.
Closed, it resembles a block of beech wood.
To serve as conveyance, to impart without reciprocity.
Framing the conversation in space, immediacy fades.
The average calfskin may provide three and a half sheets of writing material.
Confined by spatial limitation, we consider scale in terms of the absolute.
The antithesis of scroll; random entry; codex.
A quaternion equalled four folded sheets, or eight leaves: sixteen sides.
Reader and read: each endures the other’s role.
Pippins prevented tearing during the drying and scraping process.
Text first, then illumination.
Once opened, the memory palace diminished.
* * *
This originally appeared in April 2014 as part of Boston Review’s National Poetry Month Celebration, and is included in The Circumference of Other, my offering in the Silver Birch Press chapbook collection, IDES, published in 2015.