Poem 153


When pricing antiquarian books
one falls haplessly in love with them
the angle of their indexes
the seductive bending spine
assured – certainly – that the value
of this humble bind is glacial
oh, those corners, character!
and that crease, delight!
light underlining on page eighty-six
a book this old will show some signs
of heavy reading,
perspiring fingers
baited breath—a book
this wise—tantamount to fortunes
sits neatly on my shelf, waiting
for a price and a buyer, oh no
I would never embarrass you with
slim figures, you deserve another decimal…
this quizzical whim, a leather bound
bombshell with notches and gilt, I am
toying with the book ribbon – inappropriately
and running my hand along the title page –
forgive me, this feels like a stolen moment
with a novel I could never afford
signed by both authors; unclipped
being its warden, for now, before
it falls into someone else’s library
to be read again,
or displayed.

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