I know right where it is—in which room, on which bookcase
and on which shelf of that bookcase. And that isn’t always
how it goes. Sometimes I’ll scramble for hours in my place
looking for a book, a record, or some small scrap of paper.
It’s a first edition, ex-library, no dust jacket. And I believe
my mother got it for me at John King in Downtown Detroit.
The bookplate on the front pastedown indicates that it was
withdrawn from Marygrove College. The “Due Date” label
on to the rear flyleaf shows the last check out was in 1988.
I wonder now, in 2020, who decided to withdraw this book
from the library back in the late 80s or early 90s, decided it
to be a volume the library did not need on hand any longer.
Tucked in at “Lying in a Hammock…”—and of course at
that poem—is Naca’s short, handwritten note, scrawled in
her neat cursive on the back of a scrapped photocopy from
a book entitled Transcendental Wordplay. Her note reads:
“S.S.—The one day you’re not around! ♥ KNaca”
The note now must be over 15 years old—closing in on 20.
It’s just a little thing. A scrap of paper. A bookmark now.
But I love how it can remind me of those days years ago.
The days and nights. Those memories. Of times far gone
and away. Not to say that they were the best times ever.
Just different. Just not now. Vivid images I can conjure—
riding on the back of Naca’s motorcycle on Fifth Avenue,
or at a small party in some apartment dancing with Emily.
Or maybe at Brandon’s place with Bruce Lee looking on
as Brandon did his impression of all four guys from U2.
Time, time. Always time. The world spins its ugly spins
until it finds something beautiful again. And it carries on.
It carries on.