Library Books

These books, these library books smell - of smoke, of fried food, of perfume. These books carry their past readers - happy, bereft, distracted, engrossed.  Open a book and bam! it's not quite Proust, it's guessing.  Who was it- man or woman? Where is the house it sat in? Did it ride the bus? Did it go to the park?  Not so long ago, we left our names in the books, a trail, a clue, no fears of stolen privacy.  I loved leaving myself with the book, perusing signatures and conjuring those readers.  A chorus of angels, moving among language. I loved finding the same name over and over in the books I choose.  Who was this twin, this man with whom I shared my spirit?  The book is a thing, a weight, a color.  Breath, blood, song in my ear. 

Copyright 2001,  Mercedes Lawry 

Mercedes Lawry is the Director of Media & PR at Bastyr University and  has been publishing poetry for over twenty five years. She has previously appeared in Switched-on Gutenberg as well as in Fine Madness, Crab Creek Review, Seattle Review, Madison Review and others. She also writes for children and has a picture book coming out next year from Moon Mountain Publishing. She has just received an award from the Seattle Arts Commission and has been selected for this year's Jack Straw Writer's Program.