Bibliophilia • Philip Dacey

Proud book-rat,
my tail, like a ribbony
marker, giving me away,
the cover pulled down
cozily over me,

hatch on my ship.
Sing hand-heft, spine-crack,
dog-ear. Page

after page in waves,
conducted by a finger.
Riffle-music. Friends
dumbly voluble, their
solid shoulders on my shelf.

May I carry yours home after school?
Dangled by a strap around them.
The guts of a satchel
spilled on the dining-room table.
The valley of one opened,

cleavage of intelligence,
two mounds of mother-language.
In the flames of those
afraid of it, it can burn,
its power airborne.


Philip Dacey’s latest of eleven books is Mosquito Operas: New and Selected Short Poems (Rain Mountain Press, 2010). The winner of three Pushcart Prizes, two NEA grants, and a Fulbright to Yugoslavia, he has written entire collections of poems about Gerard Manley Hopkins, Thomas Eakins, and New York City. His website is