by stephen hastings-king


The camera moves slowly around the interior of a building inhabited by books. They have taken over every surface.  They have spilled onto the floor.


As the viewpoint tracks past periodic lotus reeds, air currents ripple the same pages and broadcast the same dust devils made from sentences and sentiments and narrow slices of ghost characters:   


Here, the Wife of Bath wrapped in an apparatus of footnotes blurs into the narrator from an accounting primer.


There, incidental factory workers tell the Little Engine that Could about things that leak away while elsewhere fragmented doodles tangle with lists from telephone books and dairy confessions of love.


Books submerged in bodies of water release clouds of squid ink out of which new letters condense and form colonies that wait for the sun to evaporate first their habitat then themselves so they can rain down on the surrounding area and begin another life cycle hanging from trees like ticks. They survive on punctuation plankton.  They are the ruins of sequence.