83. To Make Poor Paper not Flow When You Write on it.
Dip the paper in alum water. I, Hohman, will hereafter pour a little water on the alum and moisten the paper. Then I will see whether one can write on it.
From “The Long Hidden Friend”, Journal of American Folk-lore (1904)
Again, some kind of alchemy at work retracing speech
in the turning color,
in the sighing snow.
Dream of the mirror house on another shore,
where a direct gaze is evaded
where one speaks in the winding steps
of a shadow on the far wall the shadow is
that hidden friend who followed
on a journey across the water.
Every moment captured is a slip into oblivion
a knowing that undoes as it binds.
Every house is haunted outside
the trees know this and bear
their secrets in the winter.
They are generous in telling
the secrets, they scatter
leaves in the wild wind.
A clove scented winter, meant
to stand for love and protection
where there is none. There is
a lone, hidden friend
at every doorway, stair
well, an unrecognizable face
that recognizes every
one else. It must be
the spite that enables one to remember so well.
Spite that turns to saccharine.
some kind of alchemy at work retracting steps
in the attempt to find new ways for old words
dreaming of new vices for old voices.
Zeny May Dy Recidoro is a writer based in New York City. She is an Asian Cultural Council fellow and is currently taking up an MFA in Art Writing at the School of Visual Arts. She was born and raised in the Philippines.