If You Would Know Me

If you would know me, it should be by my books:
Those sturdy, silent sentinels at attention on my shelves,
Especially the ones aged dry and denuded now of all grace
For they most reflect my face, my inner self.
Books are where I shed most of my heartfelt tears,
In whose pages I spent my most jubilant cheers
For characters more real to me than this poor blighted world
Of lifeless people: a dreary plodding pattern of knit and purl.
The books are the homes of both my enemies and friends,
Their secrets spelled in words across the page,
Their lives spoken in biographies of paragraphs and lines.
The books are the lairs, the refuges, the havens of all--
Their happiness, their sickness, their contentment, their rage.
If you would know me, run your finger along the books’ spines
And you will hear my life being sung in melodies so fine.

Sandra S. Newton

Sandra Salinas Newton is a Professor Emeritus of English at Naugatuck Valley Community College. Her books, Enjoying the Arts: Poetry (1977) and Enjoying the Arts: Film (1978), were published by Richards Rosen Press, her short story, “The Balikbayan,” can be found in Philippine American Short Stories (Giraffe Books, 1997), as well as two poems by the online journal OPEN: Journal of Arts and Letters. She earned her B.A. from The City College of New York, her M.A. from Hunter College, and her Ph.D. from Fordham University. Dr. Newton has attended a number of writing conferences and workshops, most recently with the Writers’ League of Texas. She has also been an art reviewer and freelance photographer, and in her free time she plays blues piano.