"Selecting a Reader"
by Ted Kooser
First, I would have her be beautiful,
and walking carefully upon my poetry
at the loneliest moment of an afternoon,
her hair still damp at the neck from washing it. She should be wearing
a raincoat, an old one, dirty
from not having money enough for the cleaners.
She will take out her glasses, and there
in the bookstore, she will thumb
over my poems, then put the book back up on
its shelf. She will say to herself,
"For that kind of money, I can get
my raincoat cleaned." And she will.
I cannot say I'm as practical as this ideal reader; I cannot say no to a book once it calls to me.
This past week I spent hours researching a poem by W.S. Merwin because, for the life of me, I could not recall the title. Certain phrases came to mind, but the title still eluded me. And so I searched. Google did not prove wholly useless. Eventually I discovered the title of the piece. Then I learned which collection it was from. And from there I was able to peruse Amazon.com for the book. After all that searching, I purchased an entire collection for only one poem, a poem I so desperately want to remember.
Once the book arrives, I will share that poem with you and the rest of the internet so that the next person who googles this poem will find it in less than 78398452110 hours of searching.
This is my mission.