“When you opened the book…” – “I opened my mouth…”

When you opened the book…

When you opened the book it blossomed like a peony. Ant-words crept in single file. Their journey told a story. Near the end of summer the pages fell loose. You gathered each one, returned them to the library, long overdue, and the librarian said there was a fine. “One pond and ninety-nine tadpoles,” she said. You gave her two ponds and received a tadpole back as change. “Please save me for a rainy day,” the tadpole whispered from your pocket’s grave.

I opened my mouth…

I opened my mouth to speak but my voice was asleep. I was either having a dream, or in a dream. Not that it mattered. The person I was talking to had lost his ears. The night was so quiet one could hear dead crickets chirping in heaven. All this happened long ago. Or at least that’s what I was told. I wasn’t there so I’m afraid I can’t say.

Jason Heroux is grateful to live as an uninvited guest upon the traditional territories of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the Anishinabek Nation where he is currently the Poet Laureate for the City of Kingston. His most recent book is the novel Amusement Park of Constant Sorrow (Mansfield Press, 2018).