The Library of Missed Ripostes
by David Briggs
[ poetry - may 09 ]
Where everyone has their own desk-lamp,
and meticulously-indexed shelves loom,
like anecdotes collected for some
work of biographical back-stabbery.
No-one behind the desk, just now.
But for tacit glossing of spines,
the ruffling of silk cravats,
readers mine and quarry into translations,
footnotes, seventeenth editions.
He brushes past, polite as hair tonic,
pausing, here and there, to ask the
The Anthology of Things He Wished He'd Said.
Chins lift slowly. Fingers wax
into furrowed brows, as French-polishers might.
When directed to enquiries
he does not find the Librarian.
It is always just one second past twelve.
The best quips are long overdue.