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All great literature is one of two stories—a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.


                                                                                                                                                    —Leo Tolstoy


Tolstoy fudged the numbers. 

               He knew better.

War and peace, Pierre and Andrey, 

               Helene, Natasha…

And just the single book.


Endlessly told, but one vast story: 

               We all share that secret

from earliest childhood.



“Once upon a time” announces the familiar 

               not the unique.

“Happily ever after” fools no one. 

               That’s just a semi-colon, no full stop.


The many-colored thousand and one threads 

               Scheherazade looped around her Sultan

She knotted into one vibrant pattern 

               her story, 

                              our story:

The catalogue of tricks we try

               to distract our bedfellow,



We are the stuff of story spinning.

               We are the twisted wool, 

                              shuttled, warped, and tied, unaware

                                             of the design for which we have been chosen.


We are 

               the separate fingers on one deft hand 

                              that plies and plucks, pulls and picks until 

                                             the weaving is complete. 


We all are laid in the self-same crib

               At our beginning 

                              and at last.  

                                             Variety distracts, or tries to.


What we yearn for is a soothing voice

               To lull us 

                              as we yield to sleep.

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