05 April 2010

North Reading Room

*Written for the PAD (poem-a-day) 2010 challenge for National Poetry Month. The prompt is: too much information.

wooden card catalogues, the sliding
drawers have their grooves smoothed
with beeswax, those busy insects simmering

like the synapses of her brain as she
catches his eye across the reading room
dotted by heads bent over books, inclined

towards the green-shaded lamps to catch
the light in this otherwise dim gallery
of recessed shelves and carpet-quieted boards

fingers trembling at "a" she thinks yes, able,
he is and I for him, and happy so, to
catalogue each sigh and slight

she feels, listing her pale attributes
on one side of the scale, her
human measurements--five-seven, brown-

haired, blueish-eyed, 45-34-44, an
eight-and-a-half shoe (to walk
alongside you), ears still unpierced

at forty-two, no tattoos, scratching out
genealogies and grocery lists, wishing for
what was, when she was hungry

and Gawain still not yet killed her dragon--
other bones linger long, around the
encampment, whitened, with an inventory

written upon them, the magical, the
lost and longed for, the pecks of corn and barley and
half-stone weight of sugar candy stored away

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