Touch to Affliction
by Nathalie Stephens

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I wrote you a book of meaning. It contained the vestiges of a language.

In time, you said.

The Jews of Attali held it in their own hands and measured its validity, worth. The pages of the book wore through. A skin shrinking from bone. Not a hooking into. Rather a sinking through. We were white with dust and our lips moved in red.

Language coloured us and the book bled. So what does this say about meaning and the skin rubbed from our fingers?

These are questions for you and they are not.

A painted line runs over the earth. And we stand aside until it makes its way to us. Then we run.

As we run our hands turn to blood and our mouths dry. The book catches fire and this is as we read it.

We leave a place for fear and we bear it.




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