there are books i have read more than twenty times
(perhaps as many as fifty)
their spines are bent with old age
their covers are blemished with wine
their pages are dogeared
at the places where, over the years,
i’ve paused to consider their perfection.

and i already know as i begin you (my new novel)
that i will still want to hold you when
your back is hunched by the years
and i will still caress your skin
as if it were smooth and clear
and i will know your marked pages by heart,
for they will contain our memory.