Bookstores, libraries, friends’ bookshelves, my own bookshelves: many hours of my life have been spent with my head bent, inching sideways, pulling out this book and then another. Inscriptions are clues to whom it once belonged to and who it came from. To my beautiful granddaughter on her eighth birthday. To my husband on our 40th anniversary. To my best friend from her best friend.
Once, at Half Price Books near my house, I found a hardcover copy of my first novel. I flipped it open to the title page to see, in my own angular scrawl, that I’d signed it with love to a long-lost friend in Chicago. It was like finding an old friend, a reminder of the person I used to be.
Used Book, by Julie Kane
What luck—an open bookstore up ahead
as rain lashed awnings over Royal Street,
and then to find the books were secondhand,
with one whole wall assigned to poetry;
and then, as if that wasn’t luck enough,
to find, between Jarrell and Weldon Kees,
the blue-on-cream, familiar backbone of
my chapbook, out of print since ’83—
its cover very slightly coffee-stained,
but aging (all in all) no worse than flesh
through all those cycles of the seasons since
its publication by a London press.
Then, out of luck, I read the name inside:
The man I thought would love me till I died.
Click here for more information about poet Julie Kane.
My podcast: Words by Winter