Library Girl

I’m back in the university library – twenty one years later.  Under the great, white bowl from the days when they thought knowledge warranted a sober palace.  Everything is scrolled and flickering like an old cine film.  A sniff ricochets in the dome.

Over there, three radiating desks away, she’s sitting in a mist of adrenaline and tears.  I know the notes under her palms.  I know the self-circling poems spiralling down the margins.  I know she wonders if she has a right to be here.

I could offer her a tissue.  I could stroke her hair and take her to the union for a baked potato.  But she has to hiccup through her time.  She has to fuck up and sit up all night to meet a deadline. She has to strike a match to light the dodgy gas fire – and wait for warmer days.

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