Book Covers

Book Covers

The maroon book covers
The fourth graders had
When I was in grade school
Were so intriguing
And pretty
That I longed for the day
When I would enter fourth grade.

I found one of those book covers
Not too long ago,
Tucked away in some
Cobweb-concealed cellar corner.
I had saved it
Merely because I loved
The colour.
The covers themselves
Were a great disappointment.

On my first day
In fourth grade,
Some fondly remembered
Bride of Christ
Passed out books
And then
The maroon covers.
After a moment
Of silent admiration,
I stretched out a finger
And touched one.
They were dusty,
As if covered with chalk,
And left red smears
On my hands.
How could it be
That such a pretty cover
Was not as smooth
As it appeared from afar?
I wiped my hands
On my uniform
And covered my book,
The maroon side in.

Down in the cellar,
I touched the cover again,
As I had touched it
On that long-ago
First day of school,
Expecting a smooth,
Slick surface.
It was exacly the same --
Chalky and unpleasant to touch.
I threw the cover away.

C.P. Warner

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