Open Book

By E.R. Baxter III

At the onset it was between the lines,

then held, secret, secure, under layers

of meaning, in words. The book of the bed

gapes open, from its white page we rise,

the meat of the text, indecipherable words

struggling to articulate ourselves.

Read me. Read me.

And finally, words can not contain us,

we play in the margin of the page,

ready to leap into eternity,

into that infinite space

that is not even white.

We rise into the universe,

into each other, filling

crack and crevice

of the room.

Who among us

can say what love is, that we

are not gods, are not eternal?

An ambulance that wails outside,

rising and falling, pulls us down

to the street. The wind blows chill.

The world is, after all,

real. I make, with my body

a parenthesis, enclosing sleep.

E.R. BAXTER III will read from his latest book “Niagara Lost and Found: New and Selected Poems” (Abyss Publications) at 7 p.m. Thursday at Talking Leaves Books, 3158 Main St. A Professor Emeritus of English at Niagara County Community College, he is also the author of “Niagara Digressions” the much-praised prose collection published last year by Starcherone Books.