By Neo Yee

snow-white pages
that crackle under
fluorescent bulb

words which
threaten to escape
their prison

people say
they hate books
but they have never
had a hard-backed
tome flush
against their side,
leathery door
to another world

they have never
read a book
so many times
that the tea-stained
sheets are 
halfway gone,
so many times
you hate it
in all its
dog-eared glory

they have never
wrapped Scotch
around a yellowed cover
round n’ round
till the stubborn spine
snaps back into place

they have never
snuck into a
silent library
to read atop
carpeted floor
(ocean, sprinkled with fallen star)

when i die
they will find
black ink flowing through
my veins
letters marching
straight lines
through my heart
paper smoothed
over my skin
dust-bound covers
circling my ribcage
wet papier-mâché
clogging my tear ducts

they will find
winding shelves
hidden in the
inked shadows
of my cerebral cortex
towering stacks
in the crevices
of my temporal lobe

people say they hate books
but they’ve never
pulled so desperately
at thinning pages
that the sky blackens,
crumbles and falls
that the waves drown
themselves in subdued silence
and the world collapses
beneath their feet.

Neo Yee is a rising junior at Hunter College High School in New York.

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