Nathan Tompkins

A Drink to Dying Bookstores

Just outside the window, life continues,
people shop, laugh, eat, and drink,
drivers curse at the sludge
of Friday night rush hour traffic,
sometimes they stop in, buy a book,
or a shelf, give their sympathies,
eulogise the shop, but everyone loves
a bookstore when it’s closing.

Packing up a dying bookshops' belongings
is like packing a loved one's things,
random memories wrapped in cardboard,
lost in the back of a storage shed.

So tonight with a heavy glass of whiskey,
I drink to the shop as she sleeps
on her hospice bed, and the seconds
between her breaths stretch towards
the next minute hand, one final death gasp

        locks the door.

Nathan Tompkins is a writer living in Portland, Oregon, though his heart will always be in North Idaho. His work has appeared in many publications including NonBinary Review, Yellow Chair Review, Menacing Hedge, and Dirty Chai. He is the author of four chapbooks, the most recent of which are Lullabies to a Whiskey Bottle and A Song of Chaos.

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