Veritas and Errata


No author listed, a title

on the spine that reads Veritas

in weathered ink—

the antediluvian smell

of ancient leather,

the coriaceous feel of the cover

under my fingertips.


I’ve searched for this in card catalogues—

it’s never been digitized, never listed

in any electronic database:

an incunabula printed five hundred years ago

on linen-rag paper, each page chiseled

from a block of wood:

the letters constellate now,

seemingly joined at random,

a code, a puzzle, a mystery unfathomed.

Yet at this flat and prosaic table,

under the harsh fluorescent lights,

and the hum of air conditioning,

the words rise up from the page,

slithering through my hands

to brand me, remake me—

I recoil, but they’ve

already found my mind,

revising the chapters of memory

and I pour into the pages,

feeling hands along

my spine.

Blind and silenced,

I slide back onto my shelf,

my name effaced,

replaced with a title, Errata,

and I wait now for someone

to awaken me once more.

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