Lament Of A Bibliophiliac

By John Thomas Dodds


They’re taking over again

reproducing like black flies

around standing water.

As soon as I lend out my suitcases,

arrange for a new phone number,

settle-in with a few old companions

who are content to lie about

and live off scraps of my time

they begin to accumulate

in the nooks, the corners,

the flat spaces of my life.

At first, the odd one

wanders by on a whim, a curiosity,

and sympathetic toward my weakness

suggests a friend in need of rescue

from the doldrums of dust.

Sensing I am a carpenter at heart

and love to build shelves

some flaunt their spines,

wear soft leather and gold braid,

name drop and hint at gaps in my knowledge,

others attach themselves to me

like battered dogs and stray cats—

demand more light

insist on a place with a view.

They climb my walls

crowd my bed,

nourishing insomnia

while entertaining

with their wit and wisdom.

I develop a word rash,

a sentence phobia

look forward to obscure holidays

introduce them to my relatives

recommend them to my neighbors

arrange blind dates

with bored librarians

until, I’m forced to cull & prune,

herd them into boxes

pack my suitcases,

cancel my phone,

and move on with a few

of my old companions, who ask

nothing more than to be read and reread.

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