It lies on the dusty shelf of the living room

coffee table.

A placeholder

to fill in the empty grey spaces

when guests arrive.

Woven navy cover

dark threads containing

the shy, protruding spine

and fading gold gilded letters:

Atlas of the World.

You’d flip through the thick sections

when there was nothing to do,

and the sky was so heavy,

and the sunlight so strained.

It suffocated your thoughts,

but those pages weren’t like those cheap paperbacks

you’d find, discarded in a bookstore’s pungent corner.

They were almost… alive,

heavy, smooth, warm under your fingertips.

The strong steady blue

punctuated by splashes of blooming land,

rough borders that embrace

like long lost lovers.

You’d turn through those maps

and they would breathe shaky swallows,

rattling the house,

tearing down the rafters,

whispering of places that are waiting,

wild, green, and patient

for you.

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