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The Bibliophile
wasn't as well-read
as expected,
paperbacks on the floor,
                        carpet stained
            with afternoon naps.
She was more
a collector, bien sur,
            shelves raining
spines, titles one had to squint
                        to read, take walks
            to decipher.
An erotic thriller
lay hidden behind
            a cat statue, gray porcelain. 
                        A stash of chocolat
            behind another.
But in front, clearly
visible on the shelves
            three skinny portraits
                        of a canoe.
She dreamt of paddling
down a lake where
            there were no books,
                        just a green day,
            threaded with trees.
Years ago, a student,
she studied French,
            voulez-vous-ing in hopes of a proposal.
                        Instead she found éclairs,
            her tongue forever slipping
            on the letter r. 
She'd watch the university
boys paddle before twilight.
            Les garcons, with their red sweaters,
                        broad shoulders. On the grass,
            her eyes mouthing syllables, le livre
            would slip out of her hands.

Mehnaz Turner was born in Pakistan and raised in southern California. She holds degrees from the University of Arizona, The University of Texas at Austin, UC Santa Barbara, and Cal State Channel Islands. Her poetry has appeared in publications such as Desilit Magazine, SAMAR (South Asian Magazine for Action and Reflection), and An Anthology of California Poets. She has been teaching English at Moorpark High School since Fall 2006 and writing poetry since her early teens. "The Bibliophile" was inspired by a summer spent perusing bookstores, people-watching at cafes, and reviewing French language CDs. 

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