Before Family Comes

Before Family Comes

The cleaning. The book
scattered throughout the house,
red leather like the Webster’s, a touch
of brown like the torn Koran.
The spine and leaf and cover
ungathered and anxious they might
not mean what they’re supposed to.
I sprinkle breadcrumbs
behind me, skip back
and forth across the tender
cuts of paper holocaust searching
for the epigraph. They’re coming—
over the river through diagonal rain.
The undone pages look to bound ones
for courage. In the kitchen
fresh slices of bread
are rejoining the loaf.

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