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A dingy corner room in a by-lane, books piled high
Hopeful smell of fresh blue ink, Comforting
scratch of pens on fresh white paper
As a tired ceiling fan lets out a sigh.
Stern eyes peering through myopic haze
At fresh faces gathered weekly, their
fidgety eyes on the clock standing upright and proud, untouched
By the apology in the air.
In an old old city
Existing only in memory now of those who fled
Who’s story was chalked in rooms like these, clawing
Their way into ivory towers of stone and steel
While a city bled.
Theirs was a murky world of “pi” and “theta”
Engrossed in the small victories of a problem being solved
Yet untouched,
By the romance in those musty walls.
Squeezed around an ancient table
Creating their space. Impatiently
jerking away touching elbows
And brushing feet.
A sudden darkness, an ever-present black
Mostly relief, stretches, candlelight. A gradual
awareness of skin on skin
A quickening pulse beat.
Growing up in a heartbeat, suspended
Between a theorem unproved and
Feverish fingers clasped.
So close, never close enough
Their merging shadows on the wall, mocking
The desires poorly masked.
Unexpected ecstasy in forbidden touch, a frenzy
of emotion unknown.
Abrupt harsh light, shaming
The apologetic candle blown. A recoil, a scrambling
Of minds to return
To the dancing symbols on the pristine paper
Filled with stories yet unwritten.
A reluctant retreat to life as it was
To life as it would never be again.

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