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Human marks


                                       Take
                   that pet of medieval didacts, the manicule, or little hand: fringe-dweller of
              early manuscripts, whose jotted, peripheral fists, sprung with an admonitory digit
        lace the tanned margins of our most cankered and flame-buckled books – a fervid
injunction to look. Picture them: speckled palely
at the page edge, their flare of crumbs trailing in
to the tangled inky forest of a spreadeagled folio
you’ve just heaved off the shelves. Now follow
their frail pointers as if you yourself – stooped 
to track this scribe’s oddly curling ascenders –
might be thrown back to the moment of their
still-wet penning & the cloister’s draughty
aisle – you leaning in at the old monk’s
shoulder & attending to that crooked
gesture: grasp his hand across the
ages’ gutter – its urgent here