Until her cadence stilled -- a due date sheet was full. She’d tender the gummed lip of a new sheet to her tongue, square it over the stack of previous pages and swipe it with her thumb to seal it.
Later, I would study this memo pad of dates. What eyes haunted this book’s pages? Maybe the milliner on Main Street in her dusty cave of tulle and silk. Maybe the creepy hardware store owner who sidled up to every mom. Maybe my next best friend.
Now with paperless computer checkout, there’s no hub for my imagination. Just a random penciled parenthesis, a creased page corner, a brown smudge to ponder. Chocolate or blood?
A bookstore devotee tells me new books protect her from the germs that she thinks seethe and multiply in library volumes. Yet, she falls ill quite often.
Most maladies bypass me which makes me wonder if all library patrons suffer less, immunity bred in each breath of a page turn.
For a delightful missive about library books, see Billy Collins’ poem, “Marginalia.” https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/marginalia/