Something hidden in the woods.
On the bookshop’s basement computer
A deleted message relates
That Thomas Piketty has sold out.
The email from the book’s printer
Suggests a second run is required –
But the price of paper shows a long upward trend.
Customers leave empty-handed.
Along the city’s cigarette streets
Workers stroke their palms
And bud their ears in silent contemplation
Of Thomas Piketty selling out.
As the fast commuter train stalls
Where a fallen branch blocks the rails
The labouring academic closes
Her old copy of New Left Review
In which Thomas Piketty plugs his book
That all across the land has sold out.
Oh but to read was the greatest thing. The bookshop with perfect spines aligned and that subtle weight in her bag as she carried the book home. She was almost nervous, not knowing yet what those pages would give. That smell of paper and ink, type pressed and clear. Paragraphs and paragraphs, indentations, page numbers, the merest comma. There were worlds in there, languages, experience, psychology. People, complex and doubtful, imperfect and human. She guessed love, hoped. Maybe despair. This story that would be part of her, not part. And then the first words, It happened on her way home