Bookshop in late afternoon
Hot sidewalk faces, done chewing gum,
shelter in the book emporium:
under long halogen parallels
converging at far showroom edges
afternoon’s familiar rituals
slow near teak book-pyramid ledges,
perusing the written world’s titles
enshrining our bright, naked and dead
writers’ part-fictional requitals
in tombs of paper that will be read,
reviewed, discussed, given recitals
to couples seated in artful pairs
(for whom good readings are like jazz riffs)
fingering tabletop hieroglyphs
over coconut and almond cakes.
Please bring purchases to front counters
where prelates tally the daily takes.
Bookshop, temple to the printed age
will soon close — liberating language.
She’s memorizing the possessive form,
second Sunday each month, digging her toes
into the hard wet sand and waterbugs
kelp and jagged white salt deposits form,
a barrier between her and the crows.
An airplane’s shadow bisects her, she tugs
and pries it off but it was just going
anyway thank you very much. The sun
embarrasses but her pasty white nose
and freckles dance and the fat man rowing
far out doesn’t even see her or come
lift her she’s floating off the towel. He rows.
Nouns glare off the white pages. A french girl
downwind, short black hair and a white strapless
slaps the water, squeals, it’s cold, starts to run.
This the crows understand. They dip and whirl
now, their tiny brains let pass motionless
people on beige towels. And then the day’s done.
Andrew Singer is a poet and sometimes literary translator, university instructor and cultural journalist. He is director of Trafika Europe, bringing you some of the best new literature from Europe with its online quarterly journal. . . and featuring (from Autumn 2015) Europe’s first online “literary” radio station! www.trafikaeurope.org Watch for the Trafika Europe Corner on Ohio Edit!