The scroll is a shape that keeps returning. It’s old and circular. It contains a vertical nature (this is why we use the electronic verb to scroll, which is how you may be reading this). The scroll corresponds to the hermeneutical act of reading and writing. In the legend of Saint Romanos the Melodious, we are told his voice is like hearing metal scraping upon metal. He is visited by the Virgin Mary in a dream. She offers a scroll for him to swallow. When he wakes, he wakes with a mellifluous song-voice and a genius for composing music of praise and lament. 

			     carried away       carry a tune

Bed space —> Dream space —> The involuted surface of the parchment she hands him —> The choral  hymn inside —> The white musical space for an intake of breath —> Before that blank was parchment was animal skin —> Epidermic space of that blank —> The younger the babe the more transparent the skin, the smoother, the more exquisite —> Bay of gravid cattle, of kine, the kindred ovine —> In utero space after space after space —> The width of the palm, kind palm to harvest the calf after calf after calf —> Skin so translucent so light-sent —> So light, sheets made of meat for the beautiful-letter —>

Originally published in American Poetry Review. Copyright © 2018 by Carolina Ebeid. Used with the permission of the author.