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.


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