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The Love Story

Matthew Olzmann

The inventor of eyebrows invented other things,
time, for example, and people to wander across it—
nomads on the tundra pursuing a rumor of oxen.
Then cities for the tribes to gather, and goats
for feasts and for skins to stretch over frames
until dried—and this was the invention of parchment
which, coupled with the invention of ink, led us
to libraries. (The Library of Alexandria was built
three centuries before Christ and, later destroyed
by a single spark.) You’re reading about this library,
and the thought of all the books you’ll never know
feels like a phantom limb. I know this, because
each of these inventions is a footnote to now,
the invention of eyebrows being the moment
that interests me most. How, on your face,
they press together when worried, how they call
a thin crease to the surface of your forehead,
and how easily I can read that line.

Matthew Olzmann

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