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Short Fiction
Words on the Moon
by Douglas Gray

Price: $10.00
112 pages
trade paper
ISBN: 0922811180
LCCN #: 93-045645

Back reading

In the used book store
in the college town,
under the stairs to the coffee shop,
the paperbacks lie stacked on jumbled shelves.
No two are alike,
except for their cracked backs, their need
for chiropractic. Once, each of these
came to someone's hand
like a virgin with perfect posture
and words no one had seen yet,
its pages crisp and unthumbed,
eager to be
held and opened, ready
to be read through,
a companion in bed and bathtub,
taken with an apple
and a towel to the shining beach,
or asleep
in the lap of a traveler
crossing the Atlantic at 30,000 feet.

When you were still innocent
and in one piece,
only new books would do. Sine then
you've begun to cherish
what's been thoroughly possessed
and put aside
before it comes to you. Today you'll choose
a book you couldn't afford
while you were young, and take it home
to massage its tired spine
beside the lamp,
asking it to tell
its story one more time.

“It's not that these poems have no time for the ordinary surfaces of life; they linger fondly with care wherever the flow and texture call for a new appraising or a proper naming. But what they home to, instinctively it seems, is the secret energy of things … A marvelous range and a true sounding of old depths.”—James Seay

“With a subtle yet insistent music, Douglas Gray's Words on the Moon moves from the South of his childhood to the Midwest of his adult life and ranges out to contemporary Greece and Italy with a stop in the middle to visit the world of tabloid headlines—the grotesquery of the latter sweetened by the compassion of Gray's humane imagination.”—Andrew Hudgins

“A marking of significant time, a quest for nothing short of love, this is an eminently satisfying book of poems.”—David Citino

“A delightful collection that neatly balances the classical and the quotidian.”—Columbus Dispatch

“Words on the Moon is a beginning that promises much good to follow.”—Prairie Schooner

“Gray's poems are elegantly under his control, rhythm and even rhyme drawing the thread of the writer's classical education up to the top of the fabric. This work manages to be embodied and transcendent at once, strikingly human.”—St. Paul PioneerPress


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