Brenton Booth

Stolen

 
A few months
     before you died
 
when the junkies
     started breaking

 into all the cars
     on your street

every other night,
     you just left the

 doors and windows
    open, to save paying

 for new ones again.
    I got angry. You were

calm, shrugging your
     skeleton frame, 75

years old, in the final
     stages of cancer: with

nothing left to protect.





Detention

 
Whenever
I got into
trouble at
high school
the principal
would lock
me alone
in a store-
room until
he decided
I had had
enough.
Sometimes
I'd be in
there for
hours. The
room was
quite small
and full of
books
jammed
onto
overflowing
shelves. I
used them
as a chair.
Listening
carefully
for his
footsteps,
putting
them back
on the
shelves and
standing
before he
opened the
door. I had
never read
a book and
never read
one while I
was there.
They had no
purpose in
the life of
someone
like me. I
hated that
room and
the principal
and devised
many plans
for revenge.
A few years
later I was
in a terrible
way, really
didn't know
how much
longer I could
survive. After
work I went
to Chinatown
for dinner. I
passed an
underground
bookstore
on the way.
I decided to
go in. It was
well stocked
and I made
the decision
to buy a book
from every
section. A
few days
later I
finished
Chekhov's 
The Seagull.
Everything
changed
that day:
even the 
storeroom
no longer
looked
so
small.

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