The Fieldstone Review

Afterword

by Bethany F. Brengan

  “I always thought of paradise as a library, not a garden.”
  (Jorge Luis Borges from Borges at Eighty: Conversations)

  When I dream, it is both—books
  along a maze of mossy shelves, never more
  than shoulder-high. Heaven becomes a puzzle
  without frustration. Hummingbirds
  and sparrows dart between memoirs.
  Rabbits bound beneath novels. A small overhang
  of slate protects poetry from rain; wild
  sweet pea vines trail down spines. I pick
  new friends and old at will: unknown philosophers
  and favored novelists, childhood loves and
  unpublished letters, original drawings
  and maps previously lost at sea. From every
  bend along the path burst soft
  gasps of discovery. Delight sits on our shoulders
  like sunbeams. There’s some irreverence

  in the presumption
  that God will form Paradise
  to your own tastes, still…still…

  What is heaven
  but the place where your soul’s
  hackles finally drop? Under pinking
  trees, the labyrinth is alive with sunset-colored salamanders
  and words, the constant whisper of geniuses
  and saints and regular idiots, all proofed
  and purified. A treasury where neither mold nor
  malice corrupts, where booklice
  and shame cannot break in and steal.