The Book Collector’s Present

I once read
I think
in a book somewhere
that the word “sin”
really means
to miss the mark
like a perception
gone askew
with much relief
I might add
I found this out
for I once thought
sin meant
I wasn’t ignorant
but “bad”
nonetheless
one might feel compelled
not to be stupid
I mused
if well-intended
ignorance
leads to death
and destruction
anyhow
one can imagine
my concern
when I missed honoring
the book collector’s
birthday
with a gift
of appropriate
measure
it was after all
his eightieth plus two
and I hoped
my failure to mark it
wouldn’t hurry up
his time here
or my own
(even though
it wasn’t my fault
damn that deadly
innocent
ignorance)
what do you give
the creative genius
anyway
whose birthday
came as stealthily
and silently
as the color
permeating leaves
in an unpretentious
but blithe
October?
this man has everything
and creates much
gives much
mostly himself
all away
to his friends
seemingly numerous
as the books
on his shelves
and unlike so many
who just let
books sit there
gathering dust
he has read most of his,
his books
and his persons
and has kept
their stories alive
he is the most
responsible
and caring
book curator
in all the world
I feel
he has a way of
adding to
whatever he reads
and whomever he meets
seeing more
extracting more
than the written
or spoken word
can exhume
or tell
he is
in fact
a creative reader
who once left a
treasure map
inside of a book
about hidden railroads
and secret tunnels
for me to come across
later
as if to
help me find
my way home again
whenever I needed
the refuge
is not hidden treasure
the most
appropriate gift
found right
where we left it
already inside
one another?
and so I’ve determined
the only gift
I can give
in proportionate measure
along with my own story
is a thank you
for his
and to assure
the book collector
that he
unlike some of us
never “misses his mark”
or ever fails
to leave its impression
because he forever
engraves
and leaves
LOVE
on the inner pages
of our hearts

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