The Reader

 

   

By Lynn Mundell

 

I build you a little house in the forest with my time and a pencil stub and with run-ons for hallways and for each wall. Fragments for the windowsills. My serviceable metaphor, of course, is the roof, like an acorn cap over its nut. My favorite punctuation—the dash—I save for the light switch—on—off—on. Can you see it yet? I write you, my tiny reader, into the corner, give you an armchair made of a rounded, solid U, wrap you in an afghan of lacy Qs crocheted together. After I install the stained glass in rouge and sapphire, I make us a fire in the hearth with bundles of brittle numbers, so we can stay warm all winter. Next, I shut the oak door with finality, as I would the heavy cover of an important book. Then I lock us in together with my very. Last. Period. But you have crept out the window I carelessly left open! All I can do now is watch your little footsteps disappear through the snow, like black type fading until there is only, once again, the empty, white page.

 

Lynn Mundell is co-founder and co-editor of 100wordstory.org. Her essays have been published in “The Sun” and “The San Jose Mercury News,” poetry in “Free State: A Harvest of Maryland Poetry” and “First Class Lit,” and fiction in “Eclectica.” She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from American University in Washington, D.C.

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