After Dusk

After Dusk

The library’s newest intern
tucks the last book into the stacks,
735.4, a slick plastic coating over
the 4-color cover; she taps the spine,
pushes the book into alignment with
the shelf mates, wishes the section
a good evening, pushes her empty cart
past the research desk to leave it behind
the checkout desk, waves a good evening
to her co-lovers of books; she shrugs into
her jacket and waves a misty so long
to her friends, those made of parchment
and glue, color covers, black text, worlds
of words waiting for minds to fertilize.
The lock clicks in the front door, lights out,
books leap from their places, jig over to
the travel section, hopscotch to audiobooks
in the children’s section, saunter to the saucy
romance section; a few find the cookbook
aisle, searching for the perfect pesto recipe.

Magazines and circular files square dance
in the custodian’s file cabinet, where he
stores a box of chocolate cookies, for
emergency use only. Britannica’s X and Z
sit beneath the exit sign, the red glow
of their longing to leave, to sweep the dust
away and soar into the future of blue skies
as crocus heads peek through snow mounds.

The dance of moon and stars moves across
the firmament, day star at the gate waiting
to rise above sleepyheads, lids yearning to
stay in dreams. A lock clicks and the books
return to their dusty homes, afraid to sleep,
to miss if it a hand comes to open their giving
sharing sheaves, to open minds ready to plant
knowledge, a learning, a lesson until the lock
clicks again this evening and the books
come out to play.

~ J R Turek
June 28, 2020
Hour 20

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