Matthew Ostapchuk

Matthew Ostapchuk’s work has appeared in Jet Fuel Review, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Interrobang!? Magazine, Specter Literary Magazine, and Best New Poets 2010, among others.

My Father’s Library

The rainstorm that drowned the chickens
drove me into the shuttered library, a world

cast in gray & dust; at the edge of my vision,
a line of dead mice. The storm was before

my birthday, when my father & I would go
to the bosom of our land, that space between

the pastured hills where, at night, a drunk
Cassiopeia hung directly above. My father

was terrified of the library, of all libraries.
At night, he told me how little devils hid

within the pages of books, whispered small,
forbidden truths, tasted the air with forked

tongues. He watched the world over his shoulder,
paranoid. My father told me that one of the devils

fell in love with him when he was young—
it had taken all of his strength to resist

the beguiling creature. When my father died,
was tucked in his casket, I saw how his flesh

was drawn gaunt to his bones. Death revealed
the similar pout of our lips, our furrowed brow.

In the forbidden library caught sideways
by the storm, mausoleum of vellum, cruel

pages, I could hear no whispering, only the wind
cutting through at the cracks, the hushush rain.

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