I thought I had written much more meaning than I really had, and I think of Faust and pacts and graves that are opened and floor stains of blood that can never be cleaned—and all this seems possible, but I don’t understand how so little meaning is interpreted. For it seems, in truth, that when I realised my failure, I had contrarywise hit a vein and many pilgrims came in procession with incense and song, dancing around what I had harvested.
I have checked for poison, knife wounds, pills, or noose and have found no footprints that lead to the erasure of words. Did words dream themselves into a phantom army, luscious and responsive to the dance of fingers? I am in awe of their absence, of the meagre volume of creation.
I make gestures at the librarian—two fingers in the mouth is the sign for a pagan heretical text—a gagging gesture without making a sound alerts the librarian to my desire for such a text. I run my aging hands over foolscap, reimagining it as papyrus, vellum or the more highly prized paper made from the uteruses of aborted calves. Interpretations of said texts are forbidden, lest I crave the desire to edit them. Most however are burnt, though some have survived.
Cracks appear in the skulls of monks who make it back from glimpsing the other realms, much like newborn fontanels’.
There is gold that fills in the hairline fractures of broken plates, and gold to be poured into the space where bodies are drained of all tears, and gold to blind the last days when words had meaning.