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Book store


Library Book Sale

by Ken Sanes

I walked down the stone steps
through a small doorway
into the library basement.
I was one of the first to arrive
and had my pick
of oversized art books
and classic novels
selling at a fraction
of their original price.
But, as I browsed,
from the corner of my right eye
I caught a glimpse
of something in parallel
that I couldn’t account for.
When I moved forward,
it moved forward with me.
As I turned, it turned
and, when I leaned to the left
to look at a book,
it leaned to the left also,
although there wasn’t a book
to its left to look at.
When I turned to my right
to see what was responsible
for this similarity,
I saw a man not unlike myself.
Much to my surprise,
he then turned right also,
as if he was imitating me
or trying to avoid eye contact.
Uncertain what else to do,
I took two steps forward.
As I did, he took two steps,
still to my right,
although now I noticed
that he was barely lagging behind,
like we were forming the start
of a diagonal line.
“Who is this man,” I asked myself,
“and why is he to my right
and not that far behind?”
I then resolved
to affect a separation
and free myself
from the peculiar rhyme
he had trapped in.
So I gave him a look
and, as I walked ahead,
he fell back and disappeared
into the crowd of shoppers
moving through the basement
looking for books.


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