Would you be pleased to know that I paid
fifty bucks to have your final book transcribed
into half-domino cells of prison, prayer, or proof?

You've been stashed in my Braille cabinet for five years
with only one complete reading till now
when my need to downsize forces me
to pull you out one last time
for merit and memory.

My mother was the drinker
and I was the clean freak.
I've been lapsed so long I've almost forgotten
rosary beads and Latin mysteries.

But I've published hundreds of poems after your classes,
always trying for your "click of closure"
and specific hard-won images.

My family and some good friends have gone
to the astral for peace
and prayers from me to send better poems.

You are floating there, too,
as is Hayden Carruth, whose name
suddenly appears in everything I read
making me write about intersections and intercessions.
Have I earned the right to ask help from the two of you?

My piano, the cassette cabinet,
the soothing octave wind-chimes and the tapes
of you and Hayden Carruth reading poems
are gone.

The Braille versions of my writing inhabit
more and more of the pressed-board cabinet
my ten-year-dead brother put together
with the wrong-side-out top
and the doors that warp more each humid summer and forced-air winter.

I have read my deceptively free verse in Bethlehem
blessing good teachers for saving me
from most sins of those who lived too fast.

Around Braille page 60 I wonder
who and where C. Golden is
and whether she knows how her contracted labor
was worth her hours
and if any other blind people read your book.

I must recycle most pages,
pulling the plastic-tooth binding off,
keeping more as I near the end
but re-reading and saving just enough
to seek what I haven't yet earned
about how to be humble and famous
before it's all foam and stones.

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