Selecting A Reader

Poem By john tiong chunghoo

a striking title
she stops flipping
her painted nail
edges onto the page
the fan tries to turn over

the clouds, the smoke
trail, swirl, twirl,

her city heart calms to
country words

a brook in deep jungle
crystal clear water
treking, swishing,
through a landscape
she wishes to be a part

a hypnotic song
soothing a loneliness
a disturbed soul
below the big Ssh
in the bookstore

the silent brook
does its job
outside the city buzzes with traffic
well, it is time to take a holiday
she tells herself
and plonk the book goes back
to the shelf
she swirls past the counter
and slowly walks out
like a jungle brook
her bracelets tinkling
the bookstore as calm as she has come

inspired by

Selecting A Reader
First, I would have her be beautiful,
and walking carefully up on my poetry
at the loneliest moment of an afternoon,
her hair still damp at the neck
from washing it. She should be wearing
a raincoat, an old one, dirty
from not having money enough for the cleaners.
She will take out her glasses, and there
in the bookstore, she will thumb
over my poems, then put the book back
up on its shelf. She will say to herself,
'For that kind of money, I can get
my raincoat cleaned.' And she will.

Ted Kooser

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