Men in spectacles peer at ancient letters
embedded in moldering manuscripts.
Deciphering, discerning, determining,
they dissect the distinctive phonemes
of tongues they've never heard,
reverberations in their inner ears
more imaginative than real. They become
time-travelers as they bore into fragments
like pine beetles boring into the bark
to lay their eggs, overcome the natural
defenses of the tree. These lensed eyes
lay larvae, metamorphose meaning.