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in memory of a book

books die

out of dark bedrooms

where the only road

paved by a yellow lamp

led to their pages

they are stuffed in every corner of a house

thus turning it into a huge book cemetery

those whose names do not ring any bell

are taken to the attic

where they lay — twenty books in one box —

a mass grave

books become windows

in empty apartments

nobody’s heart beats above them

no one shares with them a dinner

or drops them into a bathtub

nobody watches them

lose their pages

like hair

like memory

books age alone

and the most sensitive book

stays forever

in a cold bed

covering its head with a pillow

suppressing the scream of its black letters

old books

neglected graves

Millbrook, April 2006

from Factory of TearsFind it in the library

Copyright © 2008 Valzhyna Mort (Trans. Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright and Franz Wright)
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.

Published in Poems Valzhyna Mort

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