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While cleaning out a bookcase.

For Richard Blessing

There is a poet I’m reading
After being surprised to come upon his dog-eared collection
While cleaning a bookcase.
I had forgotten even owning it.
His name won’t mean anything to you, never famous or fashionable,
But it draws me after all these years,
His slim dusty volume so callously abandoned.
How quickly I am reminded of his sublime voice,
Like that of a long forgotten beloved friend,
Resurrected now line by line,
Rising off the yellowed pages
In the slate gray light of this autumn afternoon.

His father’s nurse says she’s too tall for marriages.
The younger poets are ample in their margins.
The migrating salmon leap like sparks from some windy chimney.
The sound of his son’s bat on a baseball, as sweet as any teacake,
the ball’s leaping arc making the field small.

It’s gratitude I feel to find him once again,
Someone I didn’t even know I had lost,
Relieved to have unearthed his particular genius, restored it to my life.

I won’t be rich or famous, you said, sad on your birthday.
I don’t have a baby. Now it’s too late.
I pull you close. We have missed nothing. This is our only life.

And just when I think he can give me no more
Comes his closing prayer, this long dead poet
With no name you would know:
May grace be drawn to our ill-suited hands.

  2Comments

  1. John Garrard   •  

    Dear Tricia,
    I continue to rediscover you and your words! This piece grabbed me, enthralled me and still does after several readings.
    I too have been sorting out discarded or forgotten writings as I try to “declutter”. Similar surprises have made me both happy and sad but I’m delighted both ways.
    Thank you for sharing your talent with me.
    John

    • Tricia McCallum   •     Author

      I thank you for this, John. We write in the wee hours alone, wondering if we ever get it right. It’s good to hear it might actually happen from time to time.

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