Kevin Ducey

In the poetry section
    of the big-box bookstore
       on the asphalt riverine system

of the Northern Indiana
    autoshed, someone's abandoned
       three books on the

'B' shelf: after Baraka,
    Blake, Byron, we have
       Sex for Dummies by Dr. Ruth;

The Sex-Starved Marriage; followed,
of course, by 35,000 Baby Names. Evidence
   of yet another Puritan crash site
   littering the American
   landscape.      [Critical theory
          would argue that none of
          these books is out of place—
          or that they all are.]

I'd like to think these books were left                                            
 in the poetry section when the shopper
discovered the answer to her dilemma
 in Shelley. She'd spent an hour
making her selections: "hmm, I'm pregnant,
 but I don't know how—
and my husband and I hate sex..."

But then she paused for a moment in
Poetry. Fate is rough trade: the orange
Penguin Byron catches her eye and
she never looks back. Sex with dummies
has never been better and seven months
later, somewhere in Missolonghi,
a Childe Harold is born.







The origin of this poem is self-evident. Human browsing behavior in anonymous big-box stores is an anthropologist's dream. Bookstore employees could tell you tales, but such people are, alas, a vanishing tribe.