Learning Braille at Thirty-Nine

The dry universe
Gives up its fruit,

Black seeds are raining,
Pascal dreams of a wristwatch,

And heaven help me
The metempsychosis of book

Is upon me. I hunch over it,
The boy in the asylum

Whose fingers leapt for words.
(In the dark books are living things,

Quiescent as cats.)
Each time we lift them

We feel again
The ache of amazement

Under summer stars.
It’s a dread thing

To be lonely
Without reason.

My window stays open
And I study late

As quick, musical laughter
Rises from the street

And I rub grains of the moon
In my hands.

 From Only Bread, Only Light (Copper Canyon Press, 2000). Copyright © 2000 by Stephen Kuusisto. Used with the permission of the author.