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.