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By Jeffrey Skinner

You would expect an uncountable number,

Acres and acres of books in rows

Like wheat or gold bullion. Or that the words just

Appear in the mind, like banner headlines.

In fact there is one shelf

Holding a modest number, ten or twelve volumes.

No dust jackets, because — no dust.

Covers made of gold or skin

Or golden skin, or creosote or rain-

Soaked macadam, or some

Mix of salt & glass. You turn a page

& mountains rise, clouds drawn by children

Bubble in the sky, you are twenty

Again, trying to read a map

Dissolving in your hands. I say You & mean

Me, say God & mean Librarian — who after long research

Offers you a glass of water and an apple — 

You, grateful to discover your name,

A footnote in that book.


Source: Poetry (December 2015)

  • Arts & Sciences
  • Religion

Poet Bio

Jeffrey Skinner
Jeffrey Skinner’s recent collection of poems is Glaciology (Southern Illinois University Press, 2013). He is a 2014 Poetry Fellowship recipient from the Guggenheim Foundation.

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