The chair from his study
in the library at Alexandria creaks
as the old man settles into it.
He wonders how many pages
he’s traveled since those
warm sea breeze afternoons.
The chair was hardly new even then,
nor he, and it struck him as no small miracle
in either case. He only creaked
when he stood up.
Opening the sacred codex here by the window
dry parchment rustles
like a dervish of leaves in autumn wind.
At the first blank page, he presses along the center
clicks off the pen cap
to continue the trail of ink
tracing the tale
of unfolding and refolding time
outside his window
soap bubbles of galaxies and gas
pop and merge,
Ozymandias empires rising, falling,
sometimes scattering across the stars.
He pauses to sip his tea
steam rising slow with the weight
of cinnamon and cardamom
He knows there are other parts of the manifold
that he cannot see and record.
He knew the first time he neared the end of the book
and a section of it folded into somewhere else
allowing new pages to appear at the end.
And he realized over slow centuries
there must be other holy men
or women, in other pencil-thin minarets,
scratching down field notes about their parts
of the origami multiverse
at five sacred hours each day
A cedar log shifts in the fireplace, spraying sparks
he wonders if there is someone recording
the story of him and the other scribes
or writing poems about them
and if he and his timeless chair will fold, like a book
themselves into some other dimension
when he is full.
Erik Richardson is a former math teacher who now works as a freelance journalist and political consultant. He and his wife also run a small company developing elearning and engaged storytelling tools for businesses around the country. His poetry has appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies over the years, with his first published collection, a berserker stuck in traffic, published in 2014 and his second chapbook, song of ourself, in 2017.