The Poetry Section of the Local Library Grows Ever Smaller

The poetry section of the local library grows ever smaller.
I return day after day to stand under the flickering lights,
watching the deterioration of the shelves
as they starve and shrink and finally collapse into a heap on the floor.

I assume it is the work of a thief, coming and going in the night,
his arms cradling the volumes, the anthologies, the collections
that no one will ever read again.

Today Shel Silverstein is missing.
I blow a kiss to the empty space as a final salute
before returning to my car, defeated.

Every night a new set of words is hauled away,
carried out like a sack of dirty laundry to clear space for
dusty memoirs and eight copies of Knitting for Dummies.

Today, near closing time, I caught the thief
tiptoeing by, casually slipping T.S. Eliot
into the pocket of his oversized trench coat.

I followed him home, waited for him to
retire to bed before sneaking down to his basement
where those lost books huddled together like kidnapped children.
With all the compassion I could summon, I touched my hands
to their trembling spines and whispered low:
There are still people in this town who need you.
Come home.

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23 thoughts on “The Poetry Section of the Local Library Grows Ever Smaller

    1. This is soul-crushing. I want to save all those unwanted books – just gather them up and ship them to an island somewhere.

      We can call it The Book Island, and it can be a safe haven for everyone lost and unwanted.

    1. And this is inspiring.

      I think that would be a great idea! I know that I would wander into any cafe with a little library out front. Sounds like heaven to me.

      I volunteer weekly at a used book store. We run entirely on book donations and invest all profits in hiring tutors and promoting adult literacy. That’s a little bit like heaven, too.

Thoughts? I love those.

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