and destitute
crouch in a huddle
gasping at the dreaded discard aisle
as we sort through
the endless stacks of
brown, yellowed
and dusty volumes.

Some hide
dead cockroaches
insect poop.

Written on their title pages
are inscriptions to family, friends and fans.

A few hide old photos.

Delightful old bookmarks
are relegated to a particular box
later transformed into artfully decorated cards.

Now and then
we discover
a single bill
forgotten
between sticky pages.

We hunt to find a first edition
Hawaiiana
or any needy rare books.

We wipe away the grime
mend the tears
unfold corners
as I try to digest a mountain of data
intoolittletime.

The orphans
are then carefully priced
counted and packed into labeled boxes.
their character
further noted
by the application of various colored masking tape.

Later carted away
by the truckload
to sit inside a warehouse
where they will wait
to be rediscovered
at the annual book sale.

The lucky outcasts
polished and poised
ready to converse
with us
again.

*Original version printed as “Book Makeovers” Honolulu Star-Bulletin July 2, 2008.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/fire-dance/id597685929?mt=11

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