so every other week I go to this second-hand bookstore and I
head to sci-fi/fantasy/horror because I know where the letters line up
and where you are, or where you should be, at eye height between
the a’s and c’s.
yesterday I went to the counter to ask a woman if you were hiding
somewhere else amongst the stacks, maybe you had snuck somewhere
beneath the bookshelf where they stock their extra paperbacks
just out of reach.
I remember rummaging my father’s bookshelf looking for you
and all I found was your preface in a 1989 anthology titled Foundation’s Friends
and you said Isaac was in the mountain-moving business, but he did not move
but eat them.
and when a friend handed you to me in a library and you told me
I would pay by the half-hour for my words and I would be sleepless
but if someone didn’t see value in my hunger I should pick up my dinosaurs
and leave the room.
and you taught me that new tennis shoes make a summer endless, that
rain can kill if you let it, that stars are addictive when you have a rocket
full of fuel and a home to crash into, with dandelion wine to drink
in the basement.
the woman said she would call me when someone else gives you up, that
they don’t print many of you anymore and so maybe you are on Mars with Poe
waiting for everyone to forget you, so I want to tell you that I’m pacing
back and forth in the dust.
I remember, I remember, I remember something else. What is it?
Yes, yes, part of Ecclesiastes. Part of Ecclesiastes and Revelation. Part of
that book, part of it, quick now, quick before it gets away,
before the wind dies.
This poem is in response to my favourite short story, The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury by Neil Gaiman, and to my favourite author.