Fiction   Essays   Poetry  The Ten On Baseball Chapbooks In Memory

Jessy Randall

Biography of a Library

Kenneth Koch says that biographies are boring
because the plot is always the same: the main character
is born, has parents, goes to school -- the style is easy to master.

Books, in libraries, are also shelved in a straightforward
fashion, linearly, in the order of the alphabet, or
chronologically. But

sometimes it might make more sense
to shelve them intuitively -- to put books together

because you like them, or because itís funny
to put The Warrior Woman next to
The Wizard of Oz.

And besides, a person's life is not linear either --
it starts and stops, and bends backward
on itself like a twisted-up slinky
that fell down the stairs.


Here in the bedroom it's very nice
to listen to music and do the crossword
in my nightgown, the music turned up
loud, the crossword demanding
all my attention ("Mr. Serling")
("Fire's remains") ("Endlesslove co-star").
The door is shut, and the alarm is set; the bed
Is half empty since ("Prayer's end")
("...lay dying," two words) you are
on the phone with your old girlfriend,
the girlfriend you ("Type of bean")
couldn't quite leave behind for me.

On the Difficulty of Thanking Oneís Mother

Once you start you'll
never stop. Thank you
mom for putting away
the leftover lasagna.
Thank you for
fixing the window and
cleaning the porch chairs.
That's just in the last
hour! Better not to
say thank you for
any of it, or soon
you're boring her
to death with your
gratitude for the time
she put a washcloth
on your forehead,
or the time when
she gave birth to you,

©2005 by Jessy Randall

Jessy Randall recently published a new chapbook, Because Mona is in the Psychiatric Hospital (Pudding House Press). She is the Curator of Special Collections at Colorado College, and lives in Colorado Springs with her husband, two small children, and sister-in-law. See more of her work at her Web site.

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