When he woke,
I wasn’t next to him.
I had slipped downstairs
to the library,
where the warm
August air
still clung to the flaxen weave
of my reading chair.
 ..
When he asked why
I was awake so early,
I held up
the century-old book
with the blue
sapphire cover.
 ..
I told him the story
of how it was given to me
by a stranger,
in a castle
in Northern England.
 ..
Of how it was a brick
in a low wall of books
that twisted and turned
around a honey stone hearth,
in the great hall.
 ..
Of how the keeper,
upon learning that
my name
was on the cover,
told me to take the book
home with me —
just slip it into my bag,
and consider it a gift.
“It won’t be missed,”
he assured me.
“Please take it.”
 ..
The two of us were alone
in the castle, so I did.
And I had a new responsibility.
The responsibility of ruffles.

 

©Elle Wonders 2017

 

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