The Pevensies
started it all
and James with his
phalanx of arthropod friends

And then along came
Margaret and Fiver
and Taran Wanderer and
Ralph the Mouse

And Alice in her land of wonder
Anne (don’t forget the E)
Ponyboy and Johnny
Jo and her sisters
Jane and Mr. Rochester
Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy

I grew, and discovered
Henry and Catherine
And faithful butler Stevens and
The Boatwright sisters who
made my heart bleed
dark realization of what
used to be and is now

There are works
of fiction that
made me weep
hot tears of longing

But none more so than
Scout and her beloved
brother when he
comes into his own

Jem knew something
that I never could, that
Atticus would be there
arms ready
heart open
welcoming his questions
accepting his doubts
applying generous grace
To all the empty places
where words are meaningless
and reason takes flight
And only love
will suffice

They are only books.
And yet, so much more.
Without them, I would be
half the person I am now
and who can say how important
that half would