Man Suffocates Under Newspaper Collection

1 November 2017

He spent hours reorganizing his stacks
by day of the week, morning or evening,
alphabetized frontpage headlines. Some
days, when he had an exciting reshuffling
planned like sorting by number of obituaries,
his fingers would itch for the thin paper
until the irritation forced him to fake sick
and duck out of the office after lunch.
He loved the rustling pages, the soft slap
as he dropped one edition onto another,
soothing as the first drop of salve sinking
into tender skin. Late at night he’d pace
the maze between the piled walls, his eyes
closed, humming himself into a shuffling
sleep with dreams of children chanting
the Fibonacci sequence like a prayer.
One night dozing in front of a stack
reorganized by number of typos, he was
awakened by the smack of paper against
hardwood floor, quickly followed by a shower
of papers thumping his body. Struggling
against the weight of disorder, he took
his last breath calculating the time
it would take to rearrange the fallen stacks.

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