Second-Hand Bookstores

large on romance
low on poetry
touch and face the tiny shelf
of five books
Shelley, Harwood, three unknown
I'm broke and poetry
well, poetry’s a shrinking violet
I cannot afford
bookshops shouldn't charge
the populace
for its disappearing act
it’s a sad fact
a season’s vicissitude
that shelves are stuffed
with pulp and Sheldon
no one's touching Byron
no one's extolling Thoreau
or Donne's foolish love
no one's immersed in Keats
and tomorrow, well
no one's asking for me

Helen Hagemann

If you've any comments on this poem, Helen Hagemann would be pleased to hear from you.