Bookworm by Ellaraine Lockie

Hardcover books from a library sale
Old but not old enough for the antique
that would fend off an attack by an X-ACTO knife
Sit stacked in a dark corner
Like Jack the Ripper victims awaiting their fate

She avoids looking at them until it's time
Already she knows how she'll use
the safari-patterned linen that dresses
Osa Johnson's memoir, I Married Adventure
Her heart beats faster at the image
of the collage she'll design on recycled leather
The front cover of a hand-bound journal

Fabric pieces combined with baobab bark
guinea feathers, cancelled stamps and inked tattoos
that capture kudu, lions and cheetahs
A silver warthog charm tied in the waxed
dental flosss of an open binding
The inside pages of paper made from elephant dung

She tries not to think about dissecting
The English Romantic Writers
Although she knows she will
siphon out the lifeblood binding paste
The dust that rises in a biblio-sized cloud
when she rips off the heart of the cover
That she'll carve out innard names and quotes
of Keats, Coleridge, Shelley and Shakespeare
Then leave the carnage in a garbage heap

The artisan who lives in her needs the fix
To still the slight tremor
The rush of pounding surf in her chest
Like the incessant din
from Mentzelius' bookworm
Its tiny wings clashing against one another.

Read an interview with Ellaraine here