Bookworm

Today I was on the subway when
An old man tenderly pulled out a book
From his shredded backpack.
It was a library book with massacred binding,
Its two hundred pages barely held together
By sixty year old glue and a worthy plot.

With you so far away,
I felt like following this bookworm
To wherever he got off, so I could learn
To be alone like him.
I wanted to ask him which books to read
So that I am too distracted to miss you:
Each strata of your body like a stanza,
Starting with the stanza of your head,
The stanza of your breasts,
The stanza of your midsection with the
Bellybutton as a period,
Your ears two parentheses
Holding inside them
The emoticon of your beautiful face,
Your eyelashes curling
Like a hundred commas.
To be without you for forty days
Is to read a book where every chapter has your name,
Its title named after the color
Of your copper armpits, every page number
The number of times we fell asleep
In the same bed.

I have a hunch that if I followed this
Aged monk, he’d lead me to the depths
Of Brooklyn, to a place where bookworms
Can afford to survive.
I’d follow him to his brownstone,
Next to a Hassidic deli,
Peep through his first floor window at
Bookshelves bent by the weight of fiction.
How great it’d be if I could write one
Story that strung together the plots
Of his ten thousand books!
Then I’d be distracted from thinking about you,
My love of all genres, until you became the
Protagonist of my story, moving blithely through
Every shapely paragraph.