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The structure was more of a shack
not larger than twice Thoreau’s cabin
and every day he was by the outside bookshelves
or folded within the books indoors
arranging, always arranging
 
The structure was not insulated
apart from the gold leafing
piled to the ceiling
neither did it keep the damp out
and the must stung the nose
but it was the smell of books…
 
To search through
and feel the dampened pages
the molded bindings
words penned within centuries
 
This old man sold but few for very little
passing each bit of brilliance
with a subtle hesitancy
a reluctant farewell
his heart beating
his hands arranging, always arranging
 
The wrinkles in his face formed
from looking down into the pages
discerning the worth and purpose of every word
his stoic gaze, distant from the passing on
of volumes
 
Until one day
the structure was boarded up
the outdoor shelves were empty
and the man was no longer arranging
his greatest love
since the time of his youth
in books
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