The Lions on the Library Ceiling
Have you seen the lions on the library ceiling? They’re pawing at the edges of ontology, where flowers bow like gentlemen with Sinatra-style fedora hats. Everyone is lithe, lither than pigeons bopping on the curb and squirrels scrambling at a crumb of bread, and yet the lions lie in stubborn stone. Nothing to do but dance.
There’s a dragon in the fireplace, peering through a pea-green maiolica tile. And I, like an Arthurian, long to smite it. Or should I jig on pastoral plains with armour gleaming as a ripened plum plucked from the tree, glossed with blood like sweet, sweet summer juice, and bursting with those peonies and lilac buds of a High romance? Smile, mighty dragon! Be not afraid (although I’ve read of young St. George, and I know how this ends), or I’ll have nothing for which to fight.
I glance from the latticed library window when a glacial husk of snow falls from the warped church edifice, and a shrunken man, or an ungrown boy, is nearly struck. He steps aside from it, lays a hand on his chest like a painted saint, and sighs. I ogle that low glacier for a New York minute, the saintly man, proud in his discreet survival. I imagine if it all came down on me, and I laugh. And Donne, in my little red book, he laughs too.
And while I dance with Donne, seated in a Byzantine nook with faux-leather seats, I see you, too. Dark eyes glow in darker places. So you glow in the evening time at our library, even when you sit far off on purpose. If you don’t join me in my mind, I’ll still be here: lying on my back in Foucault’s pretty labyrinth, looking on the lions that move as I am moved. I’ll be dancing with the lions on the library ceiling, and though voiceless, we will sing.
Veronica Spada studies English and Philosophy at the University of Toronto. Her work has previously appeared in Goose Fiction and the Hart House Review as the first-place winner of their annual prose contest.