On opening a long unopened book,
What dank whiff rises from the parting pages,
What genie is released, what dark spell broken,
As if some warm breath trapped inside for ages
Were by a daylight glance set free?
Your father’s hand has jotted in the margins
Its own blunt text of what must be
Lecture notes, and planted his place marker
Like a flag among the “Dry Salvages”
A college “schedule card,” a blank
Grid for weekly classes, and on the back—
O fees and late fees time alone assuages—
We know the longhand’s labored look
A child’s, but why that child would scrawl
A phrase so apt for now is beyond recall:
On opening a long unopened book.