“Love Poems”

A bell tinkled the arrival
Of the pretty young woman
As she entered
The old shop.
She inhaled the musty air
Smelled the pungent aroma
Found only
In the tucked-away cubbies
Which harbor
The discarded words and pictures
Of the famed
The once-known
The long-forgotten
The never-heard-of
Creators of books.

A free-standing case
With isolated copies
Of current best sellers
Unthumbed remainders
Second printings
Of coffee table tomes
With blurred and faded plates
Stood in front of her
While crude shelves
Ran the length
And width of the room.

The eyes of the visitor
Settled on a group
Of timeworn
Leather-bound volumes.
Their covers
Softened by the sweat
Of human hands
Which made, sold
And cherished them
Were soiled
Creased
And sometimes torn
From years of fondling.

She searched
For a small book
Of love poems
Encased in red leather
With gold-leaf embossing.
She remembered
The wafer-thin sheets of paper
With hand-printed letters
Which bled through each page.
She longed to see
The curved lines and flourishes
Of the first letter
Of the first word
Of each new offering.

Her eyes scanned the shelf
Then returned to look again.
Disappointed
She glanced
At a young man
Sitting in a corner of the shop.
She hesitated
Then approached him
And asked to see the book
He held in his hand.

Startled
His grip tightened
As he frowned his refusal.
She asked again
This time requesting
Only to see
The inscription in the front.
Reluctantly
He complied.
The script was flowery but firm,
The sure hand
Of a confident young man.

For My Dear Wife
Shelley brought us together
And love will keep us together.
From your adoring husband.
April 18, 1888.

“How marvelous”
The man exclaimed.
“A gift of love.”
He seemed not to notice
The tears
In the young woman’s eyes.
“My great grandparents”
She murmured
But her words went unacknowledged.
She looked away
As he rose
Walked to the desk
And paid for the book.
When he had gone
She hurried past the clerk
Ignoring his attempts
To detain her.

The pretty young woman
Never returned
To the musty old bookstore.
She never learned
That the little book of poems
Waited for her at the desk
With a note
And the telephone number
Of a fine young man
With a love of Shelley
Who
Quite possibly
Would have repeated
The same inscription
In another book
Purchased just for her.

(Inspired by dVerse, Open Link Night 65, October 09, 2012.)

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This entry was posted in Flash Fiction, Micro Fiction, Poetry, Short Fiction, Short Story and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to “Love Poems”

  1. This literally brought tears to my eyes….No it is not from my cold LOL this is such a beautiful beautiful short. thank you for sharing!

  2. brian miller says:

    oh man…history ever repeating….what a cool story as well….i love old bookshops….and what a treasure to find the one of her grandparents though in her quest for the past missed her future…

  3. No!!!! My heart is broken!! Tell her to go back!! What a beautiful romance it would have been! I loved this poem… the book of poems.. everything about this post!!

  4. oh my…i’m all teared up now…a love story to be repeated…maybe the last chapter is not yet written.. oh i wanna run after her and tell her..sigh

  5. I don’t generally cry while reading poetry but you got me with this one.

  6. hedgewitch says:

    An O Henry sort of tale, isn’t it, without much of a happy ending. The descriptions of the books, the sense of craft and time, struck me most–very vivid.

  7. ManicDdaily says:

    Oh dear! Maybe he should have given her more of a hint! Nicely woven and well told. k.

  8. joanna says:

    oh! these are not my eyes watering… they’re just tearing up because it’s so late… what a beautiful little story.

  9. This is absolutely beautiful. The twist at the end was well crafted.

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