Stacks

my parents both went to university in ‘67
married in ‘72
but I didn’t see much of them after I left

I looked for boxes, later, in the closet
on the rare visit home
all I found was an old wedding album
and Christmas decorations,
a box of ribbon,
shoes

I wanted photographs of them
when they were here
I could imagine mom’s long hair
swaying as she walked with dad,
his flat-soled loafers on the same tile
I tentatively tread in Durham Hall,
could imagine their hands on the carpeted walls
in Strasson
the same walls I could smell
when I opened the door

it was documentation I wanted
My father never finished, but
he’s in business now and he and mom do alright

in the stacks, with the concrete floors
and that solemn, frightening ocean of knowledge
at an arm’s length
I keep track of the books I pick up
that they might too have touched
and when I read I sit at the oldest desk I can find
so perhaps, their fingers, too, have
tapped upon it

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