Monday, July 11, 2016

fresh ink, crisp paper

On my doorstep, there was a poem. The paper was a little crumpled, but the writing was recent and the ink was still fresh. I brought it indoors, as if it were an abandoned kitten, pleading me for a good home. I put it carefully on my desk, and switched on the lamp. The paper was almost see-through, except for the solid ink on it.
When you receive something like this, you don’t afford it the careful, delicate touch it requires. You ravage the words with your eyes, going through the note, and then going through it several times, attempting to figure out what it means. And then you realize it’s a poem, and you heave a sigh of relief. So no one’s in danger, and no one’s threatening to burn your house down. It’s simply a poem.
At the end of the eight lines (four on each side of the paper), was a set of initials. I thought about these initials for a while because I didn’t know anyone with these initials. I thought about who might know my address, and not a lot of names came to mind. I went through the contacts in my phones, from top to bottom and bottom to top, looking for a clue, but there was no one. And I certainly didn’t know any poets.
Although I should’ve forgotten about the poem, I couldn’t. It was carefully crafted, and every word had been deliberately placed. It wasn’t the sort of poem you simply fire and forget, no; it had been made for me. Someone written this poem with me in mind, I thought. Who could know me so well? I had no boyfriend or husband. My parents lived on a different continent, and I had no other family that knew where I lived now. The poem had been left here by a ghost.
The next day, I ripped a page from a notebook I had lying around, the kind with the white specks on a black background. I folded the page in two and tore it at the fold. I set my pen down on it (a contraption I hadn’t used in some time now), and began writing.
By the time I stopped writing, I had a serviceable poem sitting on my desk. Fresh ink, crisp paper. I got up and slipped the paper into my pocket, crumpling it in the process. I’m not sure what the poem was about, but I’m sure it could be interpreted to mean something. That’s how poems work.
I walked past a few buildings before finding one with no guard on duty. I walked in, making sure I looked like I owned the place, pressed a button on the elevator at random, and played eenie-meenie-minie-mo with the doors in the corridor. After settling for one, I placed the poem down before the door, being careful to make sure it was facing the reader. I rang the doorbell, and disappeared down the stairs.

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