The Beginning of “Agrippa” the Poem

I hesitated
before untying the bow
that bound this book together.

A black book:
Order Extra Leaves By Letter and Name

A Kodak album of time-burned
black construction paper

The string he tied
Has been unravelled by years
and the dry weather of trunks
Like a lady’s shoestring from the First World War
Its metal ferrules eaten by oxygen
Until they resemble cigarette-ash

Inside the cover he inscribed something in soft graphite
Now lost
Then his name
W.F. Gibson Jr.
and something, comma,

Then he glued his Kodak prints down
And wrote under them
In chalk-like white pencil:
“Papa’s saw mill, Aug. 1919.”

. . . . . . . . . . . .