Parchment People

By Bruce Boston

If parchment people

were the world,

like the texts of old,

each of us would be a book

of rich cursive flowing

with emotions and ideas.

Many of our pages would

be illuminated with

the passions of the moment.

Yet as the years passed

and we endured the changing

light and heat around us,

as we succumbed to the

toxins in the atmosphere

and the poisonous elements

in our own composition,

we would yellow with age.

If parchment people

were the world,

like the texts of old,

there would come a time

when our vellum would darken

and crack like old leather,

crumbling away.

In our disintegrating age,

all of our pages,

all that we contained,

would become indecipherable

except to a clever few.

Bruce Boston has received the Bram Stoker Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Asimov's Readers' Award, and the Grand Master Award of the SFPA. He is the author of forty books and chapbooks, including the novel Stained Glass Rain, the Bram Stoker award-winning collection Pitchblende, and the forthcoming collection Flashing the Dark: Forty Short Fictions. He can be reached through his website or email at You can see more of his work in our archives.