In the old library

library

in the old library

 

I followed you

among the dusty bookshelves

as you made your way

through Leaves of Grass

and Great Expectations

pausing to discover Martian landscapes 

and eat fruit in that incredible garden on Atlantis

 

how many summer afternoons 

in that old stone and brick library 

with the oak trees and shrubs in front

and the tall wood-framed windows 

the sun poured in like a symphony

to that silent place where sound was taboo 

 

when I finally sat down next to you

so quietly you never looked up

the librarian eyed me suspiciously

she must’ve known I wasn’t looking for godot

or afraid of virginia woolf

I was aching with a pain I couldn’t relieve

 

when it became unbearable

I brushed against your leg

long enough for your eyes to lift from out of Atlantis

and to linger in my eyes

 

I saw the sun bright temples

the immense stone stairs

the hanging gardens

the endless olive groves

suddenly interrupted by the librarian 

clearing her throat

“You dropped your book!”

 

I picked it up and left

 

originally published in Philadelphia Poets, Volume 17, 2011