Stacks This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

The lot is full.
Yet as I enter,
the building seems empty.
My brown eyes adjust
to theunnatural brilliance of phosphorous lights.

One step in:
huge,burgundy sofas overflow with bald men
and wrinkled women readingyesterday's New York Times.
Computers hum;
the reference desk hasdrawn a crowd.
Microfiche shuffles through endless scrolls;
oldarticles flash like 1950's new reels played in fast forward.

Inthe far corner, sprawled teens encircle the "Group Study"section.
Textbooks lay like dead bodies on the graywall-to-wall,
and I appreciate the last minute cramming of these, mycontemporaries.
A bumblebee ensemble of Cliff notes engulf a brownhaired, mousy girl.
Laughing to myself,
I find my refuge, my raftinside this perverted world:
an empty table.

Taking a seat,
I feel a chill.
It's mid-December
and the air here hasn'tchanged since July.
a magical breeze entrances the blinds todance,
and I catch the evocative scent of books.
Old, new,paperbacks, hardcover;
a Dewey Decimal System of smells invites me tocomfort.

I unzip my dull
red North Face bag.
A normalaction, harboring an unusual intensity.
The zipper,
a train,
howls through the hollows of library halls.
An echo ofshushes,
a snake of suggested silence slithers through thestacks.

My bio text appears on the hard oak before me,
Anelectric green highlighter is poised in my right hand,
A light saberprepared to strike out against the Krebs cycle.

An hourpasses
then two.
My hands resemble plantains, yellow, tarnished,stiff.

Cracking my knuckles,
I suddenly look up.
Theenchantment of the library is lost,
The stacks appear bare,
emptyrectangles sit where books used to be,
and I yawn.

That'senough biology for tonight.
Closing the thick text, I hear its spinecrack.
It startles me.
The library's emptiness, silence,mystery,
scares me.
The romance is gone.
The bald men, thewrinkled woman, have disappeared.

My book vanishes beneath thered cloth of my North Face,
And I exit through the library portal tothe untouched December night.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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