by Sankage Steno

Image result for secondhand book

This flat thing that you gave me as a present, a book
of quotations from names foreign, known for a book

or a poem that only saw the light of day in the night
nonetheless, a reader sheltered in the dark this book

guarded against cerebral clutches that lurk ruefully inside
a skull cracked and bruised, whence procured is this book

a compendium: of wisdom, of mysticism, of civilization’s
highest achievements, preserved in flatness of a book

hoping to withstand time; apropos, have you tasted
these words, swallowed nuggets of wisdom from the book

I suppose gifted thoughtfully, was it not? Have the pages
flown at your touch? Catching phrases? Or has the book

evolved? Into an allusion. A metaphor of your possessions
used once or twice, then off goes to a thrift shop: a book

of quotations meeting its quota. By the window eyes
tired and nonchalant look but never stare: I’m your book.