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You know it well, that sweet distinctive smell
that lurks in libraries: molecules released
and recombined to form a villanelle.
The shadowed shelves of crumbling thoughts compel
your steps with scent of almond, leather, yeast:
you know it well. That sweet distinctive smell
drifts between the splitting lines you quell
but pace towards, so hushed, a shaken priest,
and recombine to form a villanelle.
The dim-lit books converge in parallel
on dusty light where words decay. At least
you know it well, that sweet distinctive smell
of poems that won’t go gentle, fade, foretell
the lines to come, their brittle pages creased.
You know it well: that sweet distinctive smell
where recombined, they form a villanelle.