the roads are paved in books, and when it rains the city swells. the kitchen table is ripe with novels, and a man at one moment pulls at the spines that line his freezer, peeling back a frozen page to read "she was always in love. she knew her death was near, but she did not care..." and the man kept peeling back his freezer as it thawed and then gave way to a hole and he finished the novel and went shopping. but his cart was also peeling and he pulled a page off that said "no one should die like this marshall. you know it. i know it. even the goddamned squirrels won't touch his body, won't look him in the dead face. if the continents ..." and he kept reading, stopped somewhere in the bread aisle, leaned his head on a loaf like a pillow and was at rest on the nine-grain wheat. and just above him was a man on the roof repairing a leak, he was cutting back the pages, he had carried his packet of shingles and for the second time in his life he stopped to read one when it fell into place so perfectly, when the word mother gleamed at him he pulled it out of the hole he was patching and read of the mother of mirrors, the woman who gave birth to you seeing yourself, that person who reflects the world when she sits by the river of images. she is walking on the water heavy with the first mirror inside her. the water is glass and the rocks are the backing, and she is gazing at the vulva, she can feel the water shudder, she does not know if it is a boy or a girl. she does not know that it is a mirror. and the repairman pulls back to look at the sky, to realize the stars are just coming out and his sight is failing him, that the sun is below the horizon, that on cold mornings he falls back asleep after waking up, the call back behind the mirror too strong to push against, that to be smothered beneath the eyelids is what reminds him most of being born.