Sep/Oct 2016 • Vol. XXXVIII No. 5 NonfictionSeptember 1, 2016 |

On the Book of Sand

In Borges's story "The Book of Sand," a man trades the family Bible for an ancient book that is always changing so he can never find the place where he left off reading. He comes to feel that the book is mon strous and he "who fondled it with his ten flesh and bone fingers" is as monstrous as the book. Having heard that the best place to hide a leaf is in the forest, he places the book on the shelf of the national library. As a leaf is hidden in a forest, cells were well-hidden in plants and animals. It was only about two hundred years ago that we humans discovered we were composed of cells and that every cell comes from a preexisting cell. And now we are trying to read this book of sand with no beginning or end to it. Yesterday I felt dizzy thinking about the genetic code while the code was translating me and every other living thing into existence. I got up, cracked an egg into a pan, and thought, my god, an egg is a cell with DNA in its yoke and RNA in its cytoplasm. Then

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece



Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.
Hilda Johnston has been published in the Redwood Coast Review, New California Writing, and ZYZZYVA.

Read More

Begetting

By Jill Sisson Quinn

In Borges's story "The Book of Sand," a man trades the family Bible for an ancient book that is always changing so he can never find the place where he […]

Subscribe

Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.

Donate

With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.