Paperback reader

she sits in musty sunlit window seats,

Feet curled loosely underneath

Her paisley dress that gently grazes floors

As yellowed pages turn in spindly fingers

Decked with pretty opal rings she bought

With her books in goodwill stores,

Stacking volumes in her arms, until

She finds the one, a battered jacket,

Loved and cast aside in time, ready

For another person in the window to

Read that book in paperback, mass produced

But only one has fallen into hands

Decked with opal rings. She smiles

And slides between those tattered covers.

inside the charity shop

man in bus
Photo by Pixabay on

He told me to meet me inside the shop,

The charity shop, on the parade, right by the ASDA

Where the kids loiter in bunches, like bananas in blazers,

Waiting for men to buy them cigarettes,

Swinging on the railing as I slide through the door.

The bell tinkles solemnly as I search through the gloom,

Touching the racks of velveteen skirts

And ballgowns that once hung in wardrobes of rich

And powerful ladies who now lie in state,

With powdery white faces and purple rinse hair.

The thimbles and wine glasses sparkle in sunlight

As I breeze through the aisles searching for him,

And puzzles with pieces that crept from their boxes,

Line up on shelves too low to see.

The book shelves that line a wall at the back

Have called out to me as I brush past the shoes,

Their spines like rainbows that spell out the words

Of hushed secret messages he’s sending to me.

But I know he’s not here, I know he won’t be,

I hoped that our history could be sewn in between

The stories that scream out in the weightiest quiet

That bears down on all who slip in to see

What they can find in that old musty shop.