Maybe it started with Nancy Drew.
Sleuthing through my mother’s girlhood home,
investigating the bookcases, disturbing the dust
on closeted boxes, sliding open old drawers and searching
through the clothing boxes beneath her bed. Later
it was libraries, memorizing the Dewy Decimal System,
rifling through the card catalog, allowing serendipity
to choose my books by wandering through clues.
The art of the used book store, the allure
of the random roadside advertisement,
there’s most certainly a knack to getting lost,
to letting go, to following the shelves,
the stacks, the endless bookish path,
to holding a magnifying glass to ink and paper
until it becomes a mirror
reflecting the full and empty ventricles
of your heart.
Today’s prompt: “Flip to a random page in a book at hand and make something inspired by the first sentence you read.” So I opened the book I’m reading, Kay Larson’s Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists (it’s excellent, btw) to page 151, and read this line: “Fourth Avenue” he almost certainly meant the Strand, New York’s premium used-book store at 81 Fourth Avenue on the corner of Twelfth Street, piled high (as it still is today) with random treasures to delight any book sleuth.”
Then I wrote this poem.