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The Books—John Grey

There are books but no children.

Some were Dan’s as a boy.

Kate’s mother tossed her old favorites

the day she left for college.

 

A few they picked up along the way.

He joked that he had always wanted to read

Beatrix Potter and she was clear on the fact

that every home should have a volume

 

of Grimm’s fairy tales even before they had a home.

They never admitted it but they were building

a nest from Oz and Twain,

Peter Rabbit and a spider named Charlotte.

 

When they did marry, bought a house,

there was no room painted pink or blue

but a shelf was willing to display what

they had in mind, even as their response

 

to all-comers was. “Not for years yet.”

That was before Vietnam of course.

That was when they both were young

and not so far removed from knights

 

in armor and princesses in towers themselves.

He never came back so she had to make do

with Mowgli for companionship. And she spent

years in the shadow of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger

 

She remarried in her late thirties to a

divorcee whose children had already outgrown

the likes of Snow White and Thumbelina.

They tried but there was no second family.

 

So there are books but no children.

Kate’s thinking maybe when her step-children

have kids but…she once took a peek

at what was stored in attic boxes –

 

Richard Scarry, Harry Potter –

names her childhood never knew.

She figured she’d just hold onto the books

though she no longer had use

 

for Goldilocks or Eeyore. So the past

takes up space that could be

otherwise utilized. But by what,

with what, she has no plans to know.

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