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Pickle Me This

August 12, 2008

The Moment is Stayed

“Harriet is sure she can smell the books burning in the library. She thinks she can smell the pages turning to ash, all the pages she has pored through, the paper thick and slightly damp, the edges of the pages brown with foxing and sometimes sticky to the touch. She used to pride herself on all the information she knew. For some reason it was a comfort, all this knowledge she could unravel with a breath. Now that still contemplation she had in the library seems completely unreal.

Maybe reading was just to make Harriet feel less alone, to keep her company. When you read something you are stopped, the moment is stayed, you can sometimes be there more fully than you can in your actual life.

A bomb falls nearby and they duck down further behind the wall. Jeremy holds his hands over Harriet’s head, as if he is holding an umbrella for her, as if what falls is simply rain.”

–Helen Humphreys, Coventry (August 22)

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