Tuesday, September 28, 2010



The first time she read the book
the ceiling cracked.
In bed, she watched the plaster
above her. The crack
looked longer in the morning.

The second time she read the book
the house creaked
and popped, as if uncrossing its legs.
Her bed shook for
a few minutes, waking her briefly.

The third time she read the book
she turned pages
cautiously. A test. In the morning,
her hair was full
of plaster bits, brittle as broken eggshell.

She left the book on a bench.
But she dreams
of the book, and when she wakes,
her body is covered
in shattered plaster and shards of wood.


  1. Ok, next time I read a book in my bed I am going to be thinking of this... : ) BTW, I do hear creaks and cracks when I lay down in my bed reading!!! xo

  2. This actually happened to us -- the plaster crack in the ceiling above our bed. We were sleeping though, not reading!

  3. I love the fabulist nature of this poem. As a mother who read Chicken Little and Three Little Pigs to my child again and again and again, I imagine this woman reading and re-reading such a book to her child. Or, she is somewhat childlike herself, entering the world of the book with each re-reading, until reality and dream and imagination are one.

  4. That is a powerful book! The best of them will do that for us, and sometimes the thoughts they engender will be so powerful as to appear dangerous! After several re-reads of your poem, I equate the house with the mind of the reader. I love the way this is written- it pulls the reader along, with the charm and the mystery, and leaves you with a slightly unsettled feeling, just like the reader of the book.


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