The Poetry Book

  Old books     

      It was a sticky August day. The kind of day that made you feel as though the air was trying to suffocate you. But the slender young woman standing in the barn doorway paid no attention to the heat.

      Slowly, she stepped inside. The barn was shadowy and smelled like ancient dust and stale grain. In the corner there stood a cobwebby bookshelf crammed with yellowed volumes. Books were also stacked beside an old rocking chair that sat by the window. The scene made the young woman stand still; she smothered a sob and closed her eyes.

      “Hanna? Come in, sweetheart. I have something to show you.”

  “What is it, Grandad?” 10-year-old Hanna asked, her eyes bright with curiosity.
Her grandfather ran his finger along the spines of the books. His library was one of the special places that he and Hanna shared.
  “Ahh, here it is. Why don’t you sit on my lap? You know, your great grandfather bought me this book, 20th Century Poetry, when I went to university. Look, see the date on the front? September 26, 1962. Some of the most beautiful poems ever written are contained in these pages. I want you to have it because I know you will treasure it like I do.”
Hanna took the book reverently, and kissed his cheek. “I will take good care of it, Grandad!”
  “I know you will, dear heart.”

      Hanna opened her eyes, trying to hold back her tears as she stared at the empty rocking chair. She dug through her purse and pulled out the worn poetry book.

  “I used this all through college,” she said unsteadily. “But it belongs here, with the rest of your library.” Silently she placed the book on top of the stack beside the rocking chair.

  “Goodbye Grandad,” she whispered. “Thank you.”


~ Ilana Reimer


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