At the front of second-hand books,
reminders of ones I’ve written
or received myself. Dead-end clues
to lives that might have changed or stopped,
birthdays or anniversaries,
dates that exhausted all meanings
and slipped back into calendars.

In a dingy, ramshackle shop,
I stand in the aisle and read them,
imagine their faces and plots.
It’s time to take them home with me
and give their books new life, and hope
this copy of my collection
is as lucky when its turn comes.