Sunday, February 5, 2017

Book Loaned to Tom Andrews by Bobby C. Rogers

Book Loaned to Tom Andrews

I’d already found out that one of the secrets to happiness was
       never loan your books. But I loaned it anyway. We were all of
       us poor and living 

on ideas, stumbling home late to basement apartments, talking
       to ourselves. What did we own except books and debt? When
       the time came 

we could move it all in the trunk of a car. Tom knew what a book
       was worth—he brought it back a week later, seemingly
       unhandled, just a little looser 

in the spine, a trade paper edition of The Death of Artemio
       Cruz, required reading for a course in postmodernism we
       were suffering through. 

The book’s trashed now, boxed up and buried in the garage with
       a hundred other things I can’t throw away. When I moved
       back south I loaned it again 

to a girl I’d just met. At some party I’d said it was the best
       novel since Absalom, Absalom!, which may have been true,
      but mostly I was trying to impress her, 

and convince myself, still testing all I’d been told about how
       the matter of a book is best kept separate from, well,
       matter. Months later it turned up 

on my front steps without comment, the cover torn in two
       places, the dog-eared pages of self-conscious prose
       stuck together with dark, rich chocolate.


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