Blackbirds and Bookstores

My hypothesis: I cannot die until 
I have read all my books; so I buy more, 
and wonder what–or who–will first turn to dust.

Book covers are bright, to sell books;
print is black on white, to tell stories.
Parrots.  Blackbirds in a snowy field.

The pastel dust jacket on Anne Lamott’s book
fades into the shelf, but Hallelujah 
rings loud and bright from the page.

The writer of the book with the brightest cover
has sold 65 million books (so says the blurb on the back).
My envy hatches thoughts dark as blackbirds.

The musty smell of a favorite in the used-book section 
can bring memories: the joy of first encounter,
the frustration of first misunderstanding.

If blackbirds could read, they might not.  
I can read, but I cannot fly.
If I could fly, I might.  Until then, I will read.

If I could buy one book only,
I would open a window and pick 
the one on which the blackbird perched.

C. T. Holte

C. T. Holte grew up without color TV; played along creeks and in cornfields; went to lots of school; and has had gigs as teacher, editor, and less wordy things.  He recently migrated to New Mexico; and got a cool electric chainsaw for Christmas.  His poetry has been published in Words, Touch, California Quarterly, Months to Years, Pensive, The Daily Drunk, and elsewhere, and has been hung from trees to celebrate the Rio Grande Bosque.