Poem by Gary Margolis inspired by Book 99 Years Overdue

stormy seasA new poem, by Gary Margolis, in response to the story yesterday about this 99 year overdue book returned in New Bedford, Mass.
“Facts I Ought to Know
About the Government
of My Country”

This book was due May 10
1910. I wouldn’t have
issued you a card, if I knew
a book could be missing
this long.

I searched everywhere
I could. And sent you
a thousand notices,
most of which were
returned unopened.

I thought you had
enlisted. So I never
sent anyone to your house,
a custom in those days.
Never ordered

a replacement.
Thinking the book
could have drowned
with your ship.
Imagine my surprise

when your son arrived
with a book wrapped
in a flag, he said was
his mother’s.
Said she kept it

to know why her president
had to send her husband
over, under seas.
Said she got bogged
down in the sea

of facts and lost sight
of time. Read more
than she knew what
to do with. About
the country she wasn’t

born in, she loved.
It’s true, a fact,
I was a student
librarian
in 1910. And just

learning to pledge
allegiance to my flag,
in words my parents
couldn’t pronounce.
True, you could find me,

up in our widow’s walk,
here in New Bedford,
reading a book, and looking
out to the water. Waiting
for a ship, overdue.

Gary Margolis

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