They fill the shelves, their covers stamped, embossed
with leaves and flowers and a lyre of course.
There has to be a lyre. They’re poetry.
A standard pattern for the publisher,
this one is done in red and gold and black.
The one beside it’s green and gold and black.
There’s others on the shelf in blue and brown
with variations of the same design.
A salesman going door to door would show
his sample covers, show how beautiful
they’d look while sitting on the lady’s shelves
and sell the glory of a well-read home.
They sit on my shelves now with faded spines,
the colors muted, and the texts unread.
They’ve sat on shelves since Lincoln was alive
as decoration, text blocks pristine.
They’ve never once been opened, never read.