I remember behind the bookshelf,
by the young adults’ section,
how she picks off a paperback spine,
rests her finger on a half-forgotten name,
holds the edge against her skin and feels out a page.
we read the backs of books that day. run through twenty different blurbs,
let plotlines curl up into the air and swirl into the scent of musty paper reams,
wander past secondhand copies of Murakami novels and pick up pseudoscience theories,
flick through encyclopedias and chemistry theses while our voices entangle into
first-person points of view.
in the afternoon, we wonder at syntax. fix misplaced alphabets and authors left out of order.
on the eighth aisle she spots the old sci-fi series I read back when I was twelve,
and we laugh at the blurbs, at words like warp drive and plutonium capacitor which
would’ve thrilled our younger selves
until tired, we lie down on carpets and pretend to stargaze,
with old paperbacks as pillows -
ink rushes through our breaths.
underneath the bookstore’s cheap fluorescent lights,
her hand reaches for a half-opened book
at the same time as mine;
a soft brush of fingertips on fingertips.
I look up and find words on her lips,
lifted from my synonyms and grafted onto her skin,
think - poetry.
think - all the punctuation running in disarray skipping syntax in the spaces of my synapses relapses and sonnet turns pentameter heartbeats run in free verse feel my chest grow too light and too heavy like all the voices that they kept measured in their stanzas were let loose into her smile,
until the hours grow long into closing time.