Before the new days, ancient currawongs
hammering bells awoke me.
The new birds want my moto perpetuo,
my clockwork drive to nonexistence,
to eternal giving up before beginning.
I was seated at a table in bibliographic
co-ordinates, aligning ping-pong balls
in rows, to start and finish with the first.
Around me, light was trickling
onto cushions of synthetic silence,
while tired reading eyes
bounced off trellised inkwork,
seeking hazy Sunday windows
that were far too far away.
Today you’ll be reshelving the returns.
It was Millie and a train of shopping carts
piled high with books.
I didn’t know I worked here.
Let’s verify your aptitude.
The Dewey Classes, what can you tell me?
They spark upon the grass,
all mantissa, no exponent,
glimmers without meaning.
Can you open cupboard doors?
Only from the inside.
If I do, others close, windows rise and fall,
and the nocturnal sea of furniture
bumps against the walls.
How many mistakes have you made
with the number two?
More than you know, and less
than you don’t.
Zero out of three, close enough.
So I walked the avenues and aisles,
scattering books like careless seeds.
for puffed up clouds and optimistic dragons,
Secretive Simplicity (all blank pages)—
wrapping for a fish shop,
I Fell in Love with a Solarian—
for a miscellaneous chemist,
How to Write How to Write Books—
for a reclusive mathematician.
I turned a random page:
“Your story must be plausible,
mystery with a dash of conflict,
yet to be resolved.”
At that very moment,
a flying solar creature,
all flaming petals and plasma light,
descended from above.
I love what you’ve done with your hair.
I’m made of ionized particles.
I do not have hair.
Libraries are ideal places to pretend not to be wasting time.
artwork the old library (part above)