Stuart Dodds: by the sea

by the sea

a pile of books
by the sea
among the wind-swept grass and sand
dumped from a wheel barrow or shopping cart
remaindered items dropped from the sky
tossed out of the sky
some with their covers awry or torn
pages yellow
some standing straight up
or open facing downward
as they fell
some in good condition

authors dead and alive
earning no royalties here in the tall grass
Mary Austin, Franz Werfel, Stephen King
James Michener, Sir Philip Sidney
how outraged would he be to see his “Discourse on Irish Affairs” lying here?

“Doña Perfecta” by Galdos
(a discerning breeze has opened its pages)
“Uncle Vanya” and “Le Pére Goriot”
a German shepherd pauses to look at “Bleak House”
before catching up with its master—
a young backpacker circles this literary heap with tilted head
straining to read the titles—
he picks up “Microsoft Word for Dummies” and moves on

Is this a message from heaven, a warning?
are we being told that this is the end of publishing
that the whole enterprise has failed
there will be no more books
these are the last—they are worthless but if you see any you like
help yourself
before the tide comes in and carries them off

 

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