Anima Mundi

by Thomas D. Absher

Before paper,
medieval writers wrote on animal skins:
cattle, sheep, and goats
for parchment; vellum from calves,
prized for its buttery look
when held to the light.
Reusing a page, writers
scraped off the ink of one text
and wrote another on it.
This happened again and again
palimpsests: ancient pages of
writing with older writings
buried under them, visible
with ultraviolet light
and this is how I picture my soul,
a page of vellum, buttery
when held to the light, speaking
overlays of spirits, selves,
ancestors, in whorls and curlicues
of visible and invisible script.