Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Context Unabridged

When Howard threw his dictionary out the driver-side window, he noted three things:

1) It was definitely a two-hander. (He had to steer with his knees.)

2) The flapping pages were much louder than expected. (He had    
   held the book momentarily aloft, like an offering, before    
   releasing it into the roaring night.)

3) It felt right. Not good. Not bad. (Necessary, Howard thought.)

After he rolled up the window, Howard considered the amplified silence. The absence of wind-wild pages and rushing night air made Howard feel what he 
thought might be a twinge of something, but it passed.

Howard drove for some time. He tried to tune the radio, but he'd lost reception miles ago. He settled on a station with faint conversation, an interview perhaps, behind the static hiss. When he reached the top of Ryan Slough Hill, Howard turned around and headed back toward town. On the long straight stretch where he'd let go, he started seeing pages, exotic in the headlights, here and there on both sides of the broken yellow line. Howard closed his eyes. He imagined pages spreading for miles and miles over days and months, farther and farther along the road and out into pastures and woods. Pages lining hawk nests and raccoon dens in hollow fallen trunks. Page 729 (ekphrastic, Elamite, élanyears of penciled notes) caught in an eddy along some secret, rain-swollen creek.

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