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There was a room in Antwerp I loved so much I never filled it with books, a bed, or a table. It was alive with its own clarity — & I feared anything left there would etch shadows in that radiance. The room was in the attic of a hundred-year-old house. Hunched under a mansard roof, all its windows faced the sky. No horizon, no walls, no other windows stared into mine. The wide-planked floor had been painted over for more than a century. Scratches in the floor revealed other colors under its white surface. A deep scuff showed a reddish gray, other scratches yellow, green, or black. The sun splashed into that room at noon: cascades of light. Dust, sucked upward by the heat, fluttered under the skylight’s chicken-wire glass. I’d stretch out my palms to the rays then, & grab that light, lie on my back & listen — through the layers of whirling air — to the city’s guttural chatter, the clang of tramways, & melancholic calls of tall ships with their crowns of shrieking gulls. I owned that light — alive in my hands.
“There was a Room in Antwerp” from These Many Rooms copyright 2019 by Laure-Anne Bosselaar appears here with permission of Four Way Books. All rights reserved.