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Library books are an odd time capsule of the people who have read them.

I was flipping through the library’s copy of bpNichol’s Gifts: The Martyrology Book[s] 7&. It’s not the first time I’ve borrowed this particular copy of the book, though the last time I did was probably in 2004, and when I did last borrow this book, I took down some notes on the poem “SLIP.” (They’re not particularly insightful, just some thoughts that never made it into whatever I was working on at the time. They aren’t even anything I remember writing.) In any case, I found that sheet of paper, still covered with my handwriting and folded into even thirds, marking the poem. My first reaction was to be vaguely appalled that I might have been the last person to read this particular book; it became one of my all-time favorites withing hours of picking it up for the first time. My second response was to be embarrassed that (perhaps) people had read this particular copy of this particular book — not only read the book, but read these not particularly insightful notes that I left (accidentally, I think) marking this particular favorite poem.

FRAGMENT . somewhere . surface. a . paraphrased record of a being .  somewhere . surface.

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