So much for a ten-year-old to process

Hard cover, one thousand pages

Lying on my aunt’s bed

Looking to hide from the ever-chattering

Ever-growing, family of grandma and

Her daughters, sons-in-law, grandchildren

Translated into my brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles

Heat turned up to 85 degrees in the small house

As a freezing Philadelphia snow storm raged outside

My aunt, between marriages, living here

Her room a haven from migraine and madness


Plumping pillows, small hands book balancing

Leafing through, stopping at

The Adventure of the Speckled Band

What words in one title

Not “The Case” but “The Adventure”

And “Speckled”

What an adjective! No one I knew used that word

And although I read countless books

I’d never seen that word

Too rich to leave to my imagination

Ah, here is a dictionary

Lying beside my aunt’s crossword puzzle

“Speckled: marked with a large number of

Small spots or patches of color”

My vocabulary growing as I floated through the book:

“Mongraph,” still a conjuring word


Thus began my adventures with Sherlock Holmes

My love affair with a man so different from

The average, noisy, emotional Romani family

A man so encased in logic

Needing the sob of a violin

And the cachinnation of a Seven-Percent-Solution

His anchor to all that transformed the world into beauty


I became jealous of John Watson

The only person who knew his soul

I became jealous of Irene Adler

The only woman he ever loved

I became jealous of his mind

Desperately trying to imitate

His pathways of perception


Late that night my parents

Appeared to part me from

My new Montague

I clutched the book

Refusing relinquishment

My aunt, wise and generous, gifted it

One of my first doors to stumble through

Decades of wandering in delight


Sherlock Holmes

The only man I ever loved


© 2014 ViataMaja, Laminas




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