From: War and Peace

By: John Dougherty

 A book you gave me once bedecks

My bookshelves still (an inscription safely tucked within)

From back when giving books was still the thing.

How permanent its presence has become,

Hauled along with diligence

Through flirtations, infatuations, jobs, and dwellings.

Your inscription states a cursive, tepid “Best Wishes,”

And I took you at your word.

And now I take to wondering about the shorter books I gave to you,

About inscriptions quickly handwritten off

In a form I’d hardly recognize today.

And then there are those other sentiments inscribed

Within books bought used – some stuff for avid reading –

Free from flirtations, infatuations, jobs, and dwellings,

So I can always take them at their word.

John is a retired history teacher who has done a number of other things in life: he wrote a weekly newspaper column on the Outdoors, did a bit of free-lancing, made things of metal and wood, and cheffed around in restaurants and taught in a culinary school. He continues to pursue these interests, hopes he is “still a part of all that [he has] met” and is trying to put it all into poetry. Raven’s Perch and the anthologies of Local Gems have been kinder to him than he deserves.


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