After waiting in one line, then another, then another, we finally glimpse the Book of Kells, all of us leaning in at once, no space between us, like matchsticks, shoulder to shoulder, a horror vacui crowd ogling horror vacui art, a joke I’d voice if I weren’t so dizzy from the labyrinthine patterns. How had the monks coped with such room-spinning vertigo? By taking frequent breaks? Nailing “Gone Chanting” signs to the monastery door when eyestrain set in? And what did they scribble door messages on in the ninth century? No sticky notes yet.
It’s hard to imagine the Dark Ages: the era before Post-its. We should offer daily thanks and praise to old Art Fry and his bookmark frustrations. No matter how strategically the 3M scientist shoved paper strips into his choir hymnal they’d copter out during performances. Fry made it his mission to invent something that couldn’t stand the test of time; something not meant for the ages. Rather than industrial epoxy or super-glue grip, Fry saw value in the fleeting hook-up, in the unserious bit of stick. Not hell or eternal damnation for making a mistake but a shit-happens shrug—sin overcome with a crumple.
poems and prose have appeared or are forthcoming in B O D Y, Contemporary Haibun Online, Gone Lawn, Gyroscope Review, Maudlin House, Modern Poetry Quarterly Review, Stoneboat Literary Journal, Unbroken Journal, and Whiskey Island.