A Night at the Library


By Andrew Unruh

The modest of cities houses the modest of libraries
where I roam as if a ghostly figure,
merely haunting the stacks, whose books are filled with
ghosts of their own, yearning to be set free.

A gentle rain patters the windows, while
the sky turns from deep blue to inky black—
the library itself almost breaths, as if a
sleeping cat, curled upon the foot of a bed.

I move up and down the stairs,
while a fellow patron stares at me as I pass,
and I imagine him silently judging me,
probably thinking “I bet he doesn’t even live in this city.”

All I can do is meet his stare with my own.  My gaze
an almost listless expression, the kind found on someone caught
between boredom and a vague interest in what one is doing—
merely worn as a show, as to not look too clinically depressed.

I make my way through the fiction—
past Faulkner and Fitzgerald, past Joyce and Kerouac—
I find myself in the back, among the poetry,
and sit down with a pile of Ginsberg.

I wade through his verses, and the words—
the words seem to almost shout and
barge into each other, like drunks
looking for a fight.

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