Notes on Reading Addressed to a Stranger


You stare me down.
Glance at the title in my hand.
Something sad,
Or something true
Or both.

You say you do not understand
Why would I choose to read?
When you dislike it so.

Let me ask you
How would I answer?
There’s nothing to say.
No possible way
That I could convince

To dance—
To dream—
To fall
Into pages cream
To come through darkness
Into light
To let go of the breath you’ve been holding,
To be lost,
To be found
(If it’s not a cliche.)

I do not understand.
I do not condone.
This lonely sort of life
You must lead,
To be only one person
In an indifferent universe.

A book is a friend
to the end of the line—
With you all the way.
That’s the idea of it all.
(And that’s all I have
To say.)

What do you think about this topic? We want to hear from you!
Join the conversation!
Mabel Glaser is a student at Mayo High School in Rochester, Minnesota, graduating in 2023. Mabel uses she/her pronouns. She enjoys reading, writing, singing, baking, and biking. She plays the trumpet in her school marching band, jazz band, and concert band. Mabel is passionate about animal rights and climate change. She attended Jewish summer camp as a preteen and teen, and feels that this has shaped her worldview and Jewish identity.
Accompanying photo: “Books” by Danielle Deculus