Published on Academy of American Poets (

Dear David

This morning I looked
for your book online
and almost bought it
from the evil giant
but balked. Instead
I wrote a poem in bed
about a faux-leopard
jacket while drinking
coffee from a Bette
Midler mug. Marcel
says when he catches
himself self-censoring
he knows to add it
anyway. Anyway
I scrambled eggs
before rearranging
my book shelves,
extracting the ones
I can live without.
Those I put in a box
for prisoners (who
want dictionaries
and classic fiction,
the website says)
and later the buyer 
in Red Hook took
a towering stack
for a seventeen buck
credit. I skimmed
the spines and there
you were! Like new!
On the cover in blue
pants, a violet plaid
shirt, surrounded by
bright particulars!


Copyright © 2015 by Matthew Burgess. Used with permission of the author.

About this Poem

“This poem is a transcript of a recent Sunday, a note written and sent to its recipient on the spot. But it is also about books and serendipity, and the real possibility that the poetry gods favor alternative modes of exchange.”
Matthew Burgess


Matthew Burgess

Matthew Burgess is the author of Slippers for Elsewhere (UpSet Press, 2014). He teaches at Brooklyn College and is a poet-in-residence in New York City elementary schools with Teachers & Writers Collaborative. He lives in Brooklyn.

Date Published: 2015-02-17

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