Book On Two Legs

by Robert Vivian

How the front cover of the paperback curls up in the humidity and how the back cover remains silent, stoic in the face of the last word and all termination and you and I a book falling apart at broken spine, the friable pages, the leaf blown dust and how I was written on mighty worlds of preamble and folk song, pure tremble, pure snow, the black ink dark as night salted with stars and I gave my life to a book until I became one, a book on two legs, a book dedicated to Sister Anne Marie, the only nun I ever knew who couldn’t stop laughing and her rosary falling out all over like Marilyn Monroe’s bossy pearls, beads gone wild with mystical love and overarch of feeling, which was all the religion I would ever need and book though I was and book though I became the word trances changed and I found myself climbing to the roof and wanting to be a wild flower or mossy oak, something green, green and breathing and my book grew wings and was soaring inside my chest made of pulp and sawdust and the migratory need to fly north and keep going, zenith crazed and gaining and so book became a bird became a longing for flight became wide open and soaring air and you can live this way the sky told me if everything else in you dies and as a book I fell back to earth and even my first few pages were torn off by the rushing air and there was no index, no preface or author’s photo though I gave myself to the crickets and cicadas I listened to before dawn for they knew me when I was by myself among the piles of papers and books, looking up every few seconds into the darkness that somehow understood my wastrel life as I listened to my little brothers and sister who seemed to be asking me, almost begging me to come out and play and secure my place among the wild and intractable things glowing secretly with ardor and delight in their tender awareness of all that lives and dies.

Robert Vivian has published four novels and two books of meditative essays. His next book, Mystery My Country, is a collection of dervish essays (a kind of prose poem) and will be published in April of 2016.