1. December, Sunday afternoon
    I am a minor work but this I do not mind

    For consider that I share my fabric with shirts that once shielded
    Bodies from the chill and the burn, billowed and soaked up sweat
    And bed linens that nestled dreams and loves, with time tearing like all things
    Growing ragged. Shredded, pounded, soaked and dried. Made anew.

    Consider the shoots and seeds, the flax and hemp straining skyward
    The cotton sailed across the sea, the rain, the wind, the sun, the camels
    That carried the gum that bound together the oak gall with the iron salt
    That bit dark words onto paper and transported meaning into me.

    Consider my nature, my materials drawn together, my characters.
    The ships, the shops, the leaden letters deftly pulled from stained trays
    One by one cradled in frames of wood. Composed. Smothered in black.
    The weight, screwing down, impressing ideas. A will to reach out.

    Consider me lucky, as my minor author did, to have been printed at all.
    And bought, and thought worthy enough for someone to have me attired,
    My edges trimmed, my frailty bound. Consider the grasses that nourished
    The beast that lent me its skin. The beaten gold finely tooled into it.

    Consider my constant burnishing, my body rubbing against tables, shelves,
    Crates, cardboard boxes. I have waited in bookshops. Been sold alone
    And in bulk, in both trifling and renowned company. Bought, borrowed,
    Misplaced, lost, once stolen. More than once junked but gently rescued.

    I have picked up the smells of smoke and mildew. I have outlived most
    Of my owners, more than a few of whom passed without having ever read
    Me, leafed me, much considered me. Many have thought more highly
    Of my binding than my core. I cannot blame them, for I am a minor work.

    Still, on the whole I have been lucky. I have been spared house fires,
    Leaks and floods. I have never encountered the slobbering jaw
    Of an overexcited hound. Though I have grown a little foxed
    Here and there, the red rot has not yet set in. I still have all my pages.

    Yes indeed I am lucky, for here I endure, comfortably cradled with relatives,
    Lovingly set among familiar types in the frame of this oaken cabinet,
    Itself a distant cousin with whom, through my ink, I share roots.
    I am a minor work but I do not mind, for mine is an extraordinary family.

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