I’m sure someone’s grandfather carried
their favorite book under their arm
in World War II,
and there was paper there with ink
that never faded in the booming dust
I don’t know anything about that.
A part of me remembers though
the same part that stands up for the anthem
at baseball games. The cold beer leaving
dark rings on my jeans.
I had nightmares all summer of losing my hand
in a tractor engine, and I don’t even farm. But out there in some
buried vaults was the vinegar smell produced
by dying celluloid.
The original footage of every motion picture.
She showered in the morning like a flower
watering itself, all to impatient for the rain,
and I stood there silently surrounded
by my dark green jacket scanning
all the spines caught in her bookcase.
I touched the roughest one, illegible
from age, and pulled it out of there,
so careful not to ruin it, it was an old
collection of folktales
whose binding was unwinding
at the sight of me.
The lights flickered and reminded me
that all of this was as flimsy
as a scarecrow on a cliff side.
Where the sky was wide
enough to let the night fall.