This is a poem written for Banned Book Week (September 20-27)
A Banned Book
It escaped the notice of the book burners.
It lay on a dusty shelf
in a used-book shop,
in an obscure town,
in an anonymous country.
It was easily overlooked,
with a worn cloth jacket
and a cracked spine.
It was written in English, in Russian,
in Cantonese, in Urdu, in Farsi, in Swahili.
The supreme leader objected.
The government disapproved.
The priests condemned.
The mullahs issued fatwas.
The newspapers denounced.
When the book shop owner died,
his books were sold off by the pound
to another shop owner.
Now the banned book waits on another shelf
for an unsuspecting hand to take it up.
Like a shabby old man
in a ragged coat,
it hides its subversive intentions
with a mild demeanor.
It merely wants to tell you a story.