the way it looks from here

you see, the way it looks from here, i said, into the sunny windows, there’s no one around. there’s no one about. we have the whole world to ourselves, and still it’s just me. and you, library. i’ll talk to you like a dear old friend if i want. i work here. i do things.

i shelve books. or, at least, i shelve books when there is no one else to shelve books, since i am doing other things. i do things. i am older than the kids who shelve books; i was once the kid who shelved books. sometimes i shelve books.

there’s more to a library than shelving books, library. you know that. the watercolors in the lobby are like postage stamps from 1950: i won’t ever go to those places, not even when i get there. they say ansel adams is in the basement. no, not the real one! but all his high-contrast memories of this place. he was here before i got here. i’m not there.

the campus deer flick their long ears as the sprinklers catch and stutter in the low grass. one has horns, now; no: antlers. i call him thidwick, the big-hearted moose, and kiss at him through the window. i’m breathing in sunshine as i laugh without sound. thidwick has two sisters, one unusually small. she must be the runt, the one who stays inside and reads instead of playing kickball with the other fawns. no, i can’t relate at all.

you see, library, the way i see it, the way it looks from here, is that we’re still closed. ten minutes to opening, lights still off. but how would you know unless you tried the thick wood door? alive, seeping from every page, stories flood the stacks with dust, visible in the saturday morning sun. each one of these a word, i’m grabbing onto you, library. life lived outside your space always comes back here.

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I acknowledge that I live and work on stolen Cowlitz, Clackamas, Atfalati, and Kalapuya land.
I give respect and reverence to those who came before me.