i'm sitting on an empty shelf
between volumes 782.503 and 783.3
as dust gathers around my cover
& mites nibble my binding

occasionally unknown hands
pull my jacket, scan my contents
then promptly shove me back –
in a world with so many volumes
i'm inconsequential:
a cadaver of cellulose
in a vast intellectual morgue
where millions rest in oblivion
largely ignored

soon enough
a library employee will examine me
and decide other works
are more worthy
of the space

in a disposal box
i'll experience
the fire of wisdom
and once again
know the bliss
of being erased

Ella: Isn't the emptiness of this poem oppressive?
Shu: (surprised) Most of the oppression we encounter is inside the mind.
Jack: No – cut the rhetorical crap. Can't you see? There's something genuinely stifling here.
Ella: One reason this poem stinks is it is cloaked in self-denial. Curiously, this is because the author identifies too much with his written works. Many authors are guilty of that. So rotting is a good thing.
Shu: (Smiling faintly with a trace of disdain) False refuge.
Ella: Also, the author is also too confident of his own insignificance. No one knows how history will write them – and only vain people really care.
Jack: Yep! Pride can warp into twisted self-denial: it almost has a pious stink.
Juanita: (shrugging her shoulders) Well, let's move on and breathe. . .