I have three now, finished, or almost finished, book-things, as my friend is calling her growing child a baby-thing. They grow into themselves.
There is that page, in the front, my favorite, after the title page, before the work begins, that big space ripe for a name, only a name, a perfect white marble grave. To have a book, a whole book, a creature, all for you. I dedicated my first book-thing to someone by way of apology: this is what we did. Here, I give it back. The second one went to two teachers, now dead, also an apology for them being gone, for me being here. I'm still alive, and this is what I did for you.
But this page I left blank because I thought it would write itself like a sparkler, the light loops left in the air when we traced our names. I thought something would happen, that one doesn't make it to the end of a novel-thing without something happening. Now I'm at the end. I cannot do it, I cannot write it. I can only speak it inside me, and I will. I will speak it every time I come to that soft, blank page, the empty dedication, like a passcode for entrance into the work. It will have to be enough, my speaking it, my knowing it and you: the word curled inside my head. I almost typed world. Maybe that is right.
This afternoon, dizzy with sun and cinnamon ice cream, I started up the big hill to campus. My students are away today on a field trip, and the quiet is like an ash-fall, a hint of what the month will be. I hate it; I miss them already. I ate lunch alone with a blue pen, then turned to the sidewalks, in a skirt with no slit. At the brick gates before the stairs started up, before they are cut into the tree-side, a single white seed, pollen, tufted like snow, sailed down.
This is what I did for you: I caught it in my hand.