The Used Poetry Book

Photo by Ichad Windhiagiri on

Used Poetry Book

Inside the binding of the book/ a rust colored red smear/ a dried almost auburn color/ the color of red that bubbles out of my finger/ multiple times a day/ to see how sweet I am/ to know if I have any sugar in me left/ Smeared/ across the the bound pages of a used poetry book/I picked up to look at/ as three small children of a self-proclaimed ‘grammar enthusiast’ looked on/ When they approached me,/ their introduction, “Do you like reading books?”/ Sitting on the floor of the poetry section, open book in hand/ I smiled, “I do.”/ “Do you?” I asked curiously. Their excitement bubbling up/ Each with a recommendation/ One recommends, “This book has three stories in it, and they’re all about ponies.” As their mother announced she had cut her finger, /each child delved into the topic of ‘ways fingers can be cut”/ tests, folders, books…/ I stared down at the red substance on my book/ Reminded of how books are literally weaponry/ ‘poetry is certainly weaponry, I thought/ Somewhere, in some time passed, someone bled over these poems/ or maybe they lunged at the spine/ lips smeared with red lipstick/ the shade of blood and kissed the poems/ When we’re reading poetry, we are often bleeding/ we are certainly often feeling the need for a kiss /or remembering a kiss/ Sometimes we are feeling a kiss that cut/ Certainly we are being marked by the poem’s effects upon us/ with each reader/ new markings/ syllables and line breaks taken differently/ breaths taken at different times/ Each reader leaves his or her mark. As I will leave my own mark upon these poems/ Poems are excellent ways to practice mindfulness/ Poems are forever in the moment, non-judgmental/ accepting it’s life is reborn again and again/ The poem lives in the eyes of the current reader/ It is committed to whoever finds it next/ I can’t think of a more mindful space than inside a poem/ It’s a wonderful place to dine, relax, bleed/ Infinitely, the poem matches the colors of the eyes of the designer/ Perfect decorator and habitat/ You can catch feelings as if you were a jar/ and let them escape/ if/when you need air/ This poem began with me seeing a smear of what in my eyes was ‘blood,’’ dried to the binding of this passed along pretty book/ It ends with me not feeling repulsed, but joyous/ as I discover this/ and it becomes ‘our story’ for now.’ /Until someone reads this/ and the poems, the blood, the children/ all become their own.

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