On the back of an old bodega receipt
I keep a running list of all the books I would buy you as gifts
if you were still my friend.
You'd definitely read them --
I'm not good at many things but giving is one of them --
and you'd tell me if they were worth borrowing,
but you'd of course know that I didn't just buy them
for the chance to borrow them from you.
I don't need to do that (I'm a librarian for fuck's sake)
and besides that's not what gifts are about.
It wouldn't work the same if I read them anyway.
Your eyes and the words react like vinegar and baking soda;
I'm just a kid with a chemistry set.
So I never read the books,
but I keep the list
in the zippered coin compartment in my wallet
with other useless things like nickels.
And just like ridiculous nickels,
too big for their worth,
I hang onto the titles
because they might come in handy someday.
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