Oakland, 1978

I didn’t recognize my stuff when I came across a pile of junk in front of the apartment that wasn’t my apartment anymore.

I stopped at the front door, thinking I might score something when I saw your book,

the one you gave me.

On top of a familiar-looking dresser,

the one with the taped-up leg.

Drawers open, its familiar contents looked lost, exposed in broad daylight.

My busted mattress sagged next to it over an open box of loose papers that once had meaning.

I turned away, distancing myself from things now left behind, but when you called to me at the corner I looked back.

Take the book.

Trembling, I crossed Franklin street, your words ringing in my head.

‘What good are books?’ I replied when I reached the other side.

‘Without a place to read?’

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