15 May, 2010

Shelf Life

Now that I am older, books love me intensely.
They have forgiven my college indiscretions
of cracking spines and highlighting pages in yellow,
back when I was desperate to eat words.

In the bookstore, I converse with the paperbacks—
These books have no sense of history.
They yawn, flip their flimsy pages incredulously
as if they know it all in 200 words or less.

They just don’t get it, so I visit the clearance bin,
say hi to the one-offs and discontinueds.
This is a generous lot. They mold themselves to my hands
as they often do for anyone bookworming on a Saturday afternoon.

Like kittens in a box, they’re waiting to be adopted
by someone like me, who combs the aisles of the familiar,
looking for a slim gem or doorstop tale to anoint
the small place in me that can always make room for one more.

~ ~ January Gill O'Neil