Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Or, What Proofreading At 1 Am Can Do To You.

Dedicated to a Bracket-that-was. 

Single bracket, you stand there at the end of a phrase, lurking by the round side of a full-stop. You are lonely. There is no opening bracket to stand guard and ward off the chill of an exposed clause. 

It's cold. You bend. You crouch, trying hard to curl into yourself --into a round period like the one that slumbers blissfully by you. You'd have better chance of passing unnoticed. Maybe you'd pass as part of an ellipsis and a third period would join you. Or the other full stop would get cut out.

As you wait, uncertain, you wonder at the careless, ungrammatical hand that created you. Is there truly no design or purpose to your existence? 

Single bracket, you pine. For another one that faces you from across the yawning clause and stands back to the preceding sentence. That blocks out the rest - the dashes that leer greedily at you; other paired brackets that scoff at you; commas and semi-colons that twitter; quotes that gossip and colons that gruffly face you.

You wilt. You wish for another partner. To be part of a pair of brackets. To enclose, properly, a clause. 
To face each other across all eternity.

It's then then you notice something else.


Staring at you. 

I hear the wind howling about me. The rain lashes down on my windowsill. The silent chill of an empty house creeps into the marrow of my bones. 
I know your pain. 

And for a moment, we face each other. Locked together in a tangle. 
Bracketed together. 
We're the same. 

And then-
A quick movement of my hand, a strike and -
You're gone.