|I keep to myself on one side of a bed
whose other half is occupied by books
meant to match my moods, catch the thread
of all my thoughts, from hard-angled works
of reference, to magazines, loose leaf pads.
A collection of love-lorn verse
hugs an impenetrable masterpiece
while Judith Hearne’s eclipsed by glamour ads.
When I bring a new one back
over dinner with a glass of wine
I imagine removing its paper bag
running my fingers down its spine
how I’lI fan the pages to inhale
its pristine smell, then make it my own:
easing back the sleeve and going down
on the biographical detail.
Sometimes that’s the best bit
on evenings when I’m not in form
to get stuck in or to commit
not even to paper. One volume
alone then seems able to interject:
Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary —
something new with every read
and no long-term effects.
I can fall asleep over a phrase whose
meaning remains a stranger and wake
in the morning with Roget’s Thesaurus
poking me urgently in the back.