Epilogue: Used Book

These marks in the margin,

dull, silver ensigns of your presence,

are like fading footprints

in a wilderness of sand or snow:

when I falter, they reassure me

that I do not journey these tracts alone.

Like a lover's smell on a garment

that lingers long after she's left,

your pencil-strokes forbid relief;

withdrawing often, they reappear astutely

to startle thought and remind.

Who are you that note so decorously,

that have left your slight initials

on every peak of understanding?

At each revelation I remark you--

pre-empting me, you linger here;

my fulfilment is not exclusive.

Wise philanderer, anonymous and secure,

I shall not erase your caress,

nor shall I uneasily dispossess

your overtures.  But perusing

these pages again, adding

my dark touch to yours, I shall

forge another generation of signs

and turn our book loose, once more

for its next textual tryst.


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  Copyright © 2005 - Makarand Paranjape