You don’t know it yet but what you’ll miss
is the books, heavy and fragrant and frayed,
the pages greasy, almost transparent, thinned
at the edges by hundreds of licked thumbs.
What you’ll remember is the dumb joy
of stumbling across a passage so perfect
it drums in your head, drowns out
the teacher and the lunch bell’s ring. You’ve stolen
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn from the library.
Lingering on the steps, you dig into your bag
to touch its heat: stolen goods, willfully taken,
in full knowledge of right and wrong.
You call yourself a thief. There are worse things,
you think, fingering the cover, tracing
the embossed letters like someone blind.
This is all you need as you take your first step
toward the street, joining characters whose lives
might unfold at your touch. You follow them into
the blur of the world. Into whoever you’re going to be.
Dorianne Laux, excerpt from Books (via grammatolatry)