By C.D. Albin
We took your books down from the shelves,
bagged them, boxed them for other hands,
your widow asking often which titles
I’d like for myself. You had everyone
from Faulkner to the Pearl-poet, Chaucer
to Cheever, and perched on your desk corner
was the old Calvinist, Jonathan Edwards.
I thanked Diane but told her no.
I had in mind the two you’d given me before
you knew what tumors cancer had hatched
between your ribs: Merton’s Wisdom of the Desert,
Maclean’s Young Men and Fire. In the Merton
you penned a note saying it always made
your keeper list, brevity its greatest trait.
You said to read it slowly, one story at a time,
and I will, to make its little length last.
For Rev. Jack Emerson
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