I look out the car window
across night fields
squinting; I can see
lives I never lived ... [+]
One day, long after they were gone,
cleaning out a cabinet in my grandparents' house,
buried behind an earmarked bible
and a Billy Graham inspirational paperback,
I found a copy of Henry Miller's
Tropic of Cancer.
A beautifully preserved 1960s edition,
never meant to be found,
the author's name unmistakably in black
over a blue and white background,
the spine only slightly bent,
the pages only slightly jaundiced
from decades of dust and air.
A misguided gift for a couple
who didn't really read?
A book chosen by its ambiguous title?
A controversial collector's item
bought for novelty's sake?
Or something no one was supposed
to know about?
Whatever it was, a few months after,
when their house finally sold,
that earmarked bible
and Billy Graham inspirational paperback
would go to the Goodwill
while that Miller book
still sits on my shelf now.