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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.

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