The Used Bookstore
“Buy-Sell-Trade” reads the faded sign
over the door where an old bell clangs
when I walk in from the rainy street
and the teenaged cashier greets me with a nod
as I carry my books in an old Utz box to the counter.
What have you got?
Here’s a hardbound copy of Plato’s Republic;
it’s old, but in good shape, save
a few notes scribbled on the margins
to translate the translation
for a nervous young mind.
Three dollars cash, or five dollars credit.
Here’s Love in the Time of Cholera,
a paperback, good as new, save
the inscription on the title page
in faded pencil, which reads,
“To Jocelyn, love Mark.”
One dollar cash, or four dollars credit.
This is an old cookbook;
its cover’s dusty with flour and molasses,
but the inside’s unscathed save for
“Cindy’s favorite” and the heart
next to the recipe for blonde brownies.
Two dollars cash, or six dollars credit.
Last, here’s a National Geographic book,
whose pictures of Africa and Australia
are nearly as big as the coffee table
in my apartment where I kept it for years,
looking through it and saying, “Someday.”
Eight dollars cash, or twelve dollars credit.