Old Books

by Dan Gerber

My life’s companions, showing their age
spines peeled back, bindings frayed stacks

of brittle leaves, kept with tape and rubber bands,
though what they’ve said and have to say still

renews the world behind my eyes,
and in a cloud that shadows me

with lightning, music, consolation
sometimes peace and pure

delight in a darkness,
through which Sappho, Hui Neng,

or the night’s soft wind bring
fuel to a lamp that flickers

and fades, and flickers,
and glows.