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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 11, Number 3, September 2017

Gary Le Bel
Cumming, Georgia, USA

Small red wedge

The moment you pass through the door, the secondhand bookshop in the coastal Maine village smells of accumulated knowledge; and though it has a strong, musty odor of hearsay as well, it's a scent I enjoy almost as much as the squeak of its old pine floors. As I browse lackadaisically, I notice a boy in sunglasses beside me: he's running his hands over the uneven spines of hardbacks with a kind of slow caress. I start a conversation.

—Here for the summer?
—What do you like most about being here?
Oh, the swimming's really nice, he says, adding shyly on the cusp of a grin, and the woods smell so good you could eat ‘em.
—They are tasty, aren't they, I say, and we both chuckle. Can I help you find anything in particular?
No, he says wistfully. I just like the feel of 'em.

And after handing me a "nice to meet you," he turns to go,

             and I watch him till the tap-tap-tapping of his stick vanishes into the breeze for which the proprietor had propped the door open with a small red wedge.

One shelf up
there's The Living Sea
and with merely the sight of it
on slips my youth
like a wetsuit

Author's Note: Written by that renaissance man of the oceans, Jacques Cousteau, The Living Sea was a treasured childhood book, a later edition of which still graces my bookshelves.



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