For Maeve

She’ll read them when
I’m dead, he said,
to my mother fixing
thick-sliced bologna
and provolone on rye.

I’m never there
for these kitchen
conversations—
always in  

the next room, out of
sight, but inside ear.
I know he means
his books. The ones
from the man now  

seventy four who
sprung from Troy,
nine miles up the asshole
of Albany, all the way  

down to a university town.
The ones that stand in line
with unbroken spines,
wrapped in plastic like
the neighbor’s sofa—
no crease, coffee stain,
or stale snot. Only
piss yellow pages
let slip

that twenty years has not
been quite enough
to crack my father’s spine.  

I’d read them—I’d read them all,
but then he’d be right.