A thousand people fit in my small room,
and possibly a couple thousand more,
though no one looking at it would presume
such numbers wouldn’t spill from out the door.
And yet they fit and share with me their views
and speak of all their lives and those of others
and tell of all their old or recent news
as if they were my sisters and my my brothers.
But they are friends on whom I have relied
for inspiration, wisdom, love, and laughter,
yet many of them long ago have died,
but still can speak to us forever after.
I’m thankful for the multitude of selves
that live in volumes on my tall book shelves.
I’ve met a million people, lots of ages,
yet I don’t know how any of them look;
the ones I met from what they wrote on pages,
the ones without a picture in their book.
I’ve loved to hear what many had to say
while I sat in the comfort of my seat
yet sometimes wished we’d meet another way,
met in the flesh instead of on a sheet.
But books, admittedly, have often been,
a way of meeting others, as a spy,
who looks through windows, scared of going in,
and feeds on silhouettes, remote and shy.
But books may leave you feeling destitute
when they’re used as a person’s substitute.
The hopes and dreams of thousands were distilled
like scents from petals used to make perfume,
and though, by time, many have been killed
their essences are present in my room:
their loves and joys, their sorrows and despairs,
their personalities, their way of seeing,
philosophies of life, their deepest cares,
each concentrated heart, and mind, and being.
They’ve given me great portions of their selves
that fit within a designated space
the rows and towers of my room’s book shelves,
where I can meet them, though not face to face.
Dear readers whom I may not ever know,
I squeeze my soul in words for when I go.
Mario A. Pita