background image
by an old lady
with a lively gray eye
and a fi ne-featured face
(the muse of the place),
its binding gives way
each time it's opened,
a dried-out tendon
in the spine snapping,
or the old glue cracking
and a dead scent fl owing
from the thing (it lingers
in leather so dry
it sheds crumbs and fl akes
that cling to my fi ngers)
and the cardboard showing
at the corner breaks,
and a yellowy brown
damp-stain sunken down
through the brittle pages --
it gave me my Meekers
in the words they say,
gave me Hayt, Pitkin, Byers,
Chipeta, Ouray,
my sometimes truth-speakers,
my whole- and half-liars
(and each one sincere) --
and these others I'll mention
who were bound in together
and share their detention
with my people by chance
and, in that same year's weather,
were occupied elsewhere
and far otherwise,
so that the events
in far off White River
would have shared their attention
with many another: