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Mike Aleman


On finding my own poetry book in a used bookstore on April Fool’s Day

At first, I thought someone fooled me
and had stolen my title,
then felt just a twinge of disappointment,
acknowledging that the book had been discarded.
It was inscribed, “To Betty,”
and I’m pretty sure I know which one.
I could, I suppose, send it to the other Betty
without changing the inscription,
but that’s risky, because she may have been the one
who traded it in for store credit.
On the other hand,
I’m thrilled to have a copy of “The Chalk Dust Poet”
in limited edition, and signed by the author.
It’s as if I know him intimately.
Besides, I’ve taken a lot of pleasure in my life
buying used, inscribed books
and playing the fool.

Mike Aleman is a long-retired English teacher with a modest publishing portfolio. His work has been read over KPBX, Spokane Public Radio in Spokane, Washington. Raised in a Chicago Mexican-American bilingual family, his short stories present the urban American experience. At fifteen in 1957 he moved to Powder River, Wyoming, and has written two western novels, one contemporary, one historical. Powder River, 1957 will be released in May of 2024 by Austin Macauley Publishers.

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