In our local library
which the Council’s keen to close
language classes chatter while
the ranks of silent prose
and poetry and travelogues
and big, bright children’s books
scorn to plead their case, as though
The pristine ones have probably
only had one reader
while the tattered and the well-thumbed know
how fumbling fingers, eager
to learn their story, broke their backs
and how intruding eyes
explored their secrets, and exposed
their inner truths and lies.
Maybe heaven is like that:
we’re stacked on dusty shelves
waiting for blessed but bloodless saints
to rummage for the selves
who’ll spin them some new saga, or
disturb their state of grace
by certifying the world below
remains a basket case.
And if so, do they sigh and think
they’re better off by far
now they’ve a slot in paradise
where no temptations are?
Or do they close our fables with
a sigh, as they recall
what fun it was occasionally
to stumble, and to fall?
Published in Snakeskin 255, November 2018