Archive for May 16th, 2020

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Light of Sleep by Carolyn Forché

In the library of night, from the darkness of ink
on paper, there is a whispering heard book to book,
from Great Catastrophe and The World of Silence
to The Encyclopedia of Ephemera, a history having
to do with aerial leaflets, air raid papers,
bills of mortality, birth certificates and blotting papers,
child lost-and-found forms, donor cards, erratum slips,
execution broadsides “liberally spattered with errors of all kinds”
sold by vendors at public hangings, funeralia, with drawings
of skeletons digging graves and inviting us to accompany
the corpse of x to the church of y, gift coupons, greeting cards,
housekeeping accounts, ice-papers to place in windows
for the delivery of blocks of ice, jury papers, keepsakes,
lighthouse-dues slips for all ships entering or leaving ports,
marriage certificates, news bills, notices to quit, oaths, paper
dolls, plague papers, playing cards, quack advertisements,
ration papers, razor-blade wrappers, reward posters,
slave papers, songbooks, tax stamps, touring maps,
union labels and vice cards left in telephone boxes,
warrants and watch-papers used to keep the movements
of the pocket watches under repair free of dust,
wills and testaments, xerography, yearbooks and the Zoetrope
disk also known as the wheel of life wherein figures painted
in a rotating drum are perceived to move, faster and faster
whether dancing, flying, or dying in the whirl of time.


Date: 2017

By: Carolyn Forché (1950- )