Canzone Delle Preposizioni, by Caroline Knox

I packed up the books: Under
Milk Wood, Of
Mice and Men, Under
the Window, Under
the Volcano, Up
from Slavery, The Thunder-
ing Herd, Under
the Greenwood Tree, The Over-
Coat, The Changing Light at Sandover,
Under-
world, Out
of Africa, Paris Trout;

and I went over
to the Under-
woods’ house over
on River Road. Over-
head the blackness of
clouds out-
paced a fleeing sun. Out
and up
the clouds rolled, roiled up,
wrung out
in horrendous rain over
and over.

I had agreed over
coffee one day to farm out
lots of books people were giving over
to the library book sale over
at the high school. Under
the agreement, volunteers took books over
to the Underwoods’ over
spring break. I was up
for this, and signed up.
Over
I drove, up
the Cross Road, and turned up

River Road. I walked up
the Underwoods’ driveway and over
the lawn. The voice of Dawn Up-
shaw drifted up
from a CD player, and out
on the screen porch was John Up-
dike’s new book of essays, next to the Up-
anishads. Under
the lilacs, under
the clematis, climbing up
trellises of
lath, of

ironwork, of
wicker, blossoms hardly held up
their heads. Of
course, of
course; but the storm that had crushed them was over.
Pools of
water, of
mud were all around. The Underwoods’ cookout
was a washout,
but the sun of
a glowing afternoon under-
cut the thunder.

The Under-
woods took all the discarded books out
of the trunk of my car, and then dove them (with lots of other books) over
to the high school, where these books were put up
for sale for the benefit of the Westport Free Public Library, a generous act
which the Underwoods should be proud of.

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