A man in a red and black checkered shirt walks back and forth in the book aisles,
the books have little bunny rabbits and little brown bears and little yellow tigers on the covers,
the man in the checkered shirt walks as if he’s holding someone’s hand in his hand.
He lets go of the hand and opens a book,
he flips the pages, softly,
not reading, just seeing,
the printed animals go through their ordered adventures,
neat adventures that are wrapped up in the end with a neat little bow.
The man in the checkered shirt puts the book back on the shelf,
a tear in his eye,
falling down the ripples of his cheek,
as his face contorts to hide the sadness,
imaginary hand in his hand once more.
In the neat little stories, someone always asks the right question,
someone asks if you’re okay,
but no one asks him as the man in the checkered shirt walks down the aisle,
looking for another book that might tell him what to do now,
or one that might ask him where did that laughter go that used to come with him.