Vandal


I know you are here.
Yes, I can hear quite plainly tonight,
your keystrokes echoing off the walls
of my silent house.
I have sought for a long time now
to hunt down the vandal who has
cruelly rewritten
all my favorite books.

Yes, I have suspected for some time
that those are no mice
that make the scratching noises
that keep me awake at night;
no, I know well
the sound
of pencil on paper.

You think me too old
to know
your marginalia
from my own;
to notice
when you change
a comma, a hyphen,
a word here, a sentence there;
when you pluck out full subplots
from one book and transplant them into another.
Perhaps you have grown complacent;
 only a few years ago,
you would never have left behind
swapped book covers and misplaced books
for me to find in the mornings;
never been careless enough to forget
to copy my dog-ears
and replace my bookmarks
after you were through
desecrating my books.
And I,
 I have patiently tracked your every move,
and kept logs of all the evidence.
I have even learnt to recognize your subtle impressions
on the scents of my library.
And now,
finally,
you have gone
too far.
At long last,
I have cornered you.
You will not continue your sacrilege.
You shall not escape me this time.
Your days of terrorizing me
are at an end.

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