Photography © Edward S. Gault


A Book Shop

Book covers punch
with open fists of bold prints
new fonts made with
slappy oranges
and reds like Irish heads
they lie with their backs exposed
on backgrounds of beddy blues,
little greens and neon seas
of purple and aquamarine

the covers with the
passing breeze

their pages
crackle with static
your hands zip towards them

your eyes zap
the pages as tennis rackets
faster than
hands can;
the span
of a million man’s hands
from St.Pete to Japan
couldn’t understand
the funny flannel
of the texture
of the words
on a brain
and the

the flirtations that words leave
in our mailboxes
letters dabbed
with the dandiest of perfumes
of cattails from
sandy sand and
candied yams
that never touched a can

these odors offer us
maps to the center of the Earth
and recipes on how to
bake the universe

my mind at the book store
is dumb with science books
tantalizing texts promising
to show me the heels
elbows, bellies of the world
parcels of poetry
pillow talk me into being its girl
fiction increasing friction,
seeping suspicions
that more wonder
lies outside
my living room or kitchen

children’s books as diverse
as the stars are wide and dispersed
they tear up the store’s shores
with stories of mumbling dinosaurs
the Peanut Butter Plagues
and the Hundred Year Jelly Wars

for a small fee
the Book Keepers show us these portals
they are tall, they are short
glasses perch on their noses, earrings
rock climb their lobey cliffs
The Keepers are warm like coffee
and soft like fresh laundry
they speak with words big and small

they welcome all
they welcome all.


Denzel Johnson-Green is a poet and photographer living in St.Pete, Florida. He’s the creator of a local poetry journal, Neptune, and is the creator of a weekly poetry gathering called Community Poetry. He’s been featured in numerous performances in downtown St.Pete and is the recipient of the 2023 Roy Peter Clark Literary Prize. He loves writing about food, discrimination, magic, and strange stuff around town.

Edward S. Gault is a poet and fine arts photographer living in Brighton, Massachusetts. His work has appeared in Oddball Magazine, Spectrum, Wilderness House Literary Review, Interlude, Currents, and Encore.