There’s a wonderful novel on my shelf
which once slept bedside when not read daily,
over and over again as if new, old pages
still surprising, reluctant in my progress
through the confused lives of Owen and Stevie,
how Kate loved Owen but Stevie loved Kate
and nobody loved the janitor, Mr. O.
which they called him because no one
could pronounce his European name;
how I cried every time I read about
the disappointments of their sad lives
and wondered at my own insignificant ways
until another lover came to bed with me
and the pages of Owen, Stevie, Kate and Mr O.
gathered dust, then the middle of a stack
of novels until finally becoming lost
on my shelf next to others I’ve forgotten.