Linda Flaherty Haltmaier
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18 Copies of The Odyssey

After you died,
the bookshelves still bulged
and buckled
under the weight of your

obsessions. Walls draped in a shroud of
Times Roman, Helvetica, Pico,
Spines that tell the story of a mind in

fibrillation. Kin to silverfish
and second-hand sellers,
Spelunker of library cast-offs
and dented cardboard boxes
marked 2 for 25 cents,
You moved on

but the titles remained—
a breadcrumb trail of passions
bound up in paper and ink,
Musty residue of a life lived on a loop—

Each tome perused,
bought,
chosen,

over and over again—

Homer’s tale called to you
Odysseus and his impossible tasks,
A love that never wavered
He found his way home—
in the end.

I hope ghosts can read.

Photo-Haltmaier

 

Linda Flaherty Haltmaier’s collection of poems, Catch and Release, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. She earned her BA in English Literature from Harvard University and her screenplays and short fiction have won numerous honors. Linda lives in a little blue house by the ocean with her husband and daughter on Boston’s North Shore.