by Charles Levenstein

At times he thought himself a suitcase
or even worse an overnight bag,
convenient enough for quick trips
but an annoyance going through customs.

All the pockets and corners checked
for contraband, sudden realization
that something essential had been left
on a nightstand or in the refrigerator.

Not books, they are beyond essential
for someone now bound to the blanket
and terrified of going blind,
voracious for the printed page.

Peculiar that this burgeoning Helen Keller
didn't seek out color, exotic birds,
turquoise bays in Turks and Caicos –
he read about these phenomena.

I imagine he was training his imagination
for the day when the world closed down
and he, petrified by turgid veins and plaque-
filled arteries, became a statue.

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