Book Sale – Christine Kwon

Some people are unlikeable
before they die.
I am waiting for some
to go ahead.
Then I buy their book,
read their poems
and like them.
I guess I should say writers.
But I don’t mean my friend in texas
or that one pretty branchlike girl in new york.
I don’t mean you—
I mean the men and women
whose books I buy—
Who drank cocktails alone
at a café table,
Who sat by a pond crying
to the muse who beckoned
in the center,
Who wet the rich black fur
of their cat with hot tears,
Who burned their breakfast
looking at it,
Whose feet were cold
whisking back and forth the dark,
Who wanted to cry choosing a coat,
Who died penniless,
the absence of some drug
streaking down the veins
of one arm,
Who crowd my living room
threatening to bury me
with their excellence
with their clothed faces
and embossed eyes
and fat new yorker bellies,
Who greet me in the morning
sullenly as neglected housewives,
and say how lucky you are,
when you die
there will be a lovely book sale.

Christine Kwon writes poetry and fiction in her little New Orleans yellow shotgun house. She is the 2022 winner of the Cowles Poetry Book Prize. Her first book of poems, “A Ribbon the Most Perfect Blue,” will be published in late 2023 from Southeast Missouri State University Press. Poems and short stories are forthcoming in blush lit, The Columbia Review, and X-R-A-Y, among other places.

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