I have never understood
why you abandon books.

You leave them hewn half-open,
peaked like the homestead tents
of tiny lost settlers

trying to build a life in strange lands:
carpet, coffee table, the open wilderness
of the kitchen counter.

Sometimes I pick them up, just to meet
the detective you left nursing a beer
and a knife wound in a shady Boston bar,

the frightened farm boy hiding
under thorn bushes from goblins and wolves,

the tired mother with hair like sunset
and her finger on the trigger of a gun.

I have started to notice a trend:
you put down stories as soon
as their central conflict is revealed

and this explains why you are not here now.

This poem was originally published under the pen name Gabriel Gadfly.
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