The Reading Fountain

In the park, there’s a fountain with a bronze bird.
The bench where he sits doesn’t have his name on it,
but it should. This is where he comes on the clear
days. He always sits there by the reading fountain.

I never walked through the park before he’d arrive
or after he’d left. Definitely his bench! He always
wore a plaid cap with a snap in front, cocked way
back on his head. And the same sweater.

If I get to be that old, will I wear sweaters in June?
The heat doesn’t faze him a bit. He reads as though
New York City wasn’t there. He reads now as he
wished he could have done years ago.

Copyright © 2013 Alan L. Slaff, selected from
“The Boy in the Mirror (2nd Edition)”

To Reading

I scratched my beard while I reached
for a book high on a shelf. My thoughts
drifted to the bookcase in my room
when I was a young boy.

It was two shelves high made out of
thin plywood, painted a glossy gray.
The shelves were filled with Tom
Swift Jr. and the Hardy Boys. And a
lot of other important stuff, too.

New books have that special smell.
National Geographic smells great, too.
To fan the pages of a new book is
titillating to be sure.

In those pages, time and time again,
I have loved and been loved. Be gentle
with that book!

A torn page is like a broken heart; you
can patch it up, but it is never the same
again. Books give and give. They’re
not like people.

Copyright © 2013 Alan L. Slaff, selected from
“The Boy in the Mirror (2nd Edition)”