John Dutterer

Nectar and Ambrosia

A week overdue, a year overdue, what do I care?  The local library (filled with tattered tomes of US History, self-help conundrums, glossy new murder mysteries) had supplied me with a cookbook written at the dawn of human civilization.  No, I’ll never surrender it to the unwashed hands and distracted eyes of the public.  Whoever checked it out before had already damaged it.  Now it’s mine, and in fact it had always been mine.  And yet even I was surprised to find that my name had been embossed upon the cover, thanks to some unknown agency.

“Borrowing privileges suspended” was how the letter had expressed it; this was only to be expected.  It didn’t matter anymore. All my visits to the library, as well as the other tedious tasks that make up my day to day existence, were nothing more than stepping stones leading to this moment.  The cookbook is finally mine.  I will of course refrain from opening it.  Never will I turn those papyrus pages under that leathery, prehistoric cover.  I’ll keep it by my side, until old age finally has its way.

My great-great-grandson, ever the conscientious attorney, will return the book to the library and pay the unbelievable fine.

John Dutterer is a poet, short story writer, and translator. He enjoys making collages and assemblages in the tradition of Dada and Surrealism. His less useful passions include heavy metal and watching tennis. John lives in a particularly serene suburb of Baltimore with his family.

back to sleet poetry back to sleet fiction