Books Will Burn

— Jerry Dyer

I sit at a computer (curmudgeon),
trying to pull an idea out
of the ether, trying
to kindle a fire inside my head.
But what could be more useless
than imagining warmth
emanating from this screen?
Pixels are sparks, yes,
but they are like aurora borealis,
a rainbow’s life removed from us,
burning and sputtering out again
in a cold and silent void.
Those words have never been kissed,
nor lain in languor
on a dreamy lover’s chest.

Books, though, will burn to embers,
and our thoughts will fall in ashes
between the pages that we turn.
Books will make a bonfire,
it is sure, from the bindings
that thread our present to the past,
from penciled marginalia,
typeface that has a texture,
scent of history, and a name.

That fire will burn of substance,
because of dogs’-ears, because
of spines, and fed, in the end,
by all the oil from all the fingers
that have traced, in joy and longing,
words already aglow with flame.

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