On Downsizing a Library
Some experts claim Bibliomania is a
socially transmitted disease.
They cite epidemiology evidence that
outbreaks occur close to university campuses.
Also in the competitive game
of "have you read"?
Immunity from this plague seems
to be guaranteed
by safe houses protecting the Greeks.
However, my brother Jack and I
would vote for genetics.
As evidence we cite the
scalp tearing dive baby brother Bob
took into the glass doors
of the family bookcase.
With us this terrible affliction seems to start with collections
of big little books, comics and the adventures
of Bill Bolton and Zane Gray.
Besides owning a book gave us
full command and ownership
of the knowledge therein.
Our first major epidemic came about
in the '48 sell off in Colorado Springs.
The Camp Carson library was closed and
all the many fine books donated
by the heirs of illiterate silver barons
whose architects used leather-bound books
as interior decoration.
Never opened nor pages cut.
Unread by busy troops,
the volume went to Goodwill.
The staff priced the volumes
the best they could
by the pound.
Slim books of poetry were a nickel and
big histories went for as much as a dime.
Many boxes in the trunk made
for a satisfying drive home.
Those boxes kept increasing
With the speed of rabbit reproduction.
Each of many moves was marked
by more boxes.
Cement blocks and planks were
replaced by fiber board book cases
and finally shelved walls of books.
Book clubs and garage sales
helped the collection grow and grow
Busy, busy and no time to read much.
The unread increased as fast
as new books are added.
Retirement beckoned with a book mark
and a well lighted easy chair.
Arrival, however, signaled getting things in order.
Choose an executor and set up your trust.
Collect letters and pay off debts.
Wonder what will happen
to the library with death.
Library has to be downsized so
no one will have to sort through
the musty volumes.
One box for Goodwill,
one for each kid.
Three hours and no books in any box.
Many bo0oks considered and
astonishment at contents.
Why has this book gone unread?
Downsizing is nothing more
than a reading circle for
all the keepers.