It is an unassuming brown, brick building
with vines growing up it’s sides.
Cars and people pass by without
so much as a wink or a nod, but
to the initiated, it is a storehouse
of treasure worth more than gold.
A small bell tinkles as you push
open the faded green door and the
smell that greets you cannot be
described. As you try to put words
to it they fail and you can only
stand for a few moments and
breathe it in like a long lost memory.
An old shop cat languishes in a
ray of sun atop one of the shelves
from a cracked and dirty window as
its tail slowly slides back and forth
keeping the books behind it clean.
You are greeted by a tiny old woman
with snow white hair and dentures
that move ever so slightly as she
presents you with as warm a smile as your
grand mother did when you were young.
And here you will find mystery, and
biography and love. Oh yes love, a
whole section of pastel spined
romance novels just waiting for the
unsuspecting to fall in and drown
among the printed words.
How to and cookbooks, crime stories
and poetry. Auto repair manuals and
history. Science fiction and humor.
And you must touch them, hold them
in your hands and smell them, feel
their smooth, age worn covers with
bent corners and torn edges.
And you want to stay here, ask for
a job so you can come back again
tomorrow, and the next day and never
leave this paradise of the written
word, this sanctuary of knowledge,
this holy shrine of old books.
But you know you cannot. You know
you must leave and resume your life,
and on the way home you dream of
having your own old bookstore one
day. You’ll have a cat and a rocking
chair in the corner and a tinkling
bell on the door. And the door will
be green, and you’ll have gray hair.