by Lou Gallo
art by Clinton Van Inman
Late in the night I caught her reading
the book I was reading, an old leather tome
with gilded edges, the book I was reading
the night before.
She raised her eyes and smiled,
closed the book and passed it to me
and in the transfer our fingers touched.
Her hair brushed against my hand
as she turned and sank into the divan,
dreamy-eyed and out of focus.
I opened that book as I stood
to where I’d left off but the book had changed.
Her slender fingers and gaze upon its words
had changed the book, had changed the words,
the words now illuminated, enflamed.
I reread the passage from the night before
and sensed that I too had changed.
The book became a kiss, an embrace,
its leather velvet, its word a song
which compelled me now to sing along
and as I sang she opened her drowsy eyes
and touched the book again, and her touch
ignited the page I had settled on.
Reading would never be the same.
I bent to kiss her lips and stroke her hair,
her wheaty wavy hair, and shyly she smiled.
Wherever I’d loitered the night before
was not where I now lingered, breathing
her magic and by her presence beguiled.
Breathing will never be the same.
LOU GALLO's work has appeared in Fiction Fix, Glimmer Train, Hollins Critic, Rattle, Southern Quarterly, Litro, New Orleans Review, Xavier Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Missouri Review, Mississippi Review, Texas Review, Baltimore Review, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, The Ledge, storySouth, Houston Literary Review, Tampa Review, Raving Dove, The Journal (Ohio), Greensboro Review,and many others. Chapbooks include THE TRUTH CHANGES and THE ABOMINATION OF FASCINATION. I am founding editor of the now defunct journals, THE BARATARIA REVIEW and BOOKS: A NEW ORLEANS REVIEW. He teaches at Radford University in Radford, Virginia.
Clinton Van Inman grew up in North Carolina, graduated from San Diego State University in 1977, taught in South Carolina and is currently a high school teacher in Tampa Bay where he lives in Sun City Center, Florida with his wife, Elba.
Belle Rêve Literary Journal is a southern literary experience. Our mission is to capture everything that makes the South and its residents unique through the best contemporary literature we can find. We publish new works weekly.
Passionately Ran, Compassionately Fed.