In addition to writing, I work at a fantastic public library. It’s been on my mind a lot lately, as most library districts (including mine) have been temporarily closed to do our part to fight COVID-19. And thus, a library poem for Day 9 of my month-long poetry challenge!
Notes from a Library Employee
a poem by Lauren Hallstrom
It’s been 33 days and I think I’m going through library withdrawal.
My hands are itching to straighten shelves
and type out search terms.
I have taken to organizing my pantry in alphabetical order.
Yes, it has gotten so bad that I have given each room in my house
a Dewey Decimal name—
the kitchen is 641.5 and the study is 005
and the backyard can be 919.69 if I want it to be.
At work, I could always look forward to
watching kids build towers out of magnets
and strangers bond over Where the Crawdads Sing.
I could collect a thousand little pieces of conversation
about what makes people unique.
Now I am at home, learning how to wait
I heard that neighbors have been delivering groceries,
and if you look outside, you’ll see
people encouraging each other with sidewalk chalk.
There is a boy who crossed out the sign on his lemonade stand
and turned it into “Free Waves.”
I am discovering a million different ways we still find joy.
When it is time to return to our jobs
and welcome back a community
that is still hurting and healing,
let us keep creating our rainbows.
Let us walk through the doors and carry with us
the joy we found in unexpected places.
Let that be, more than anything,
the thing that spreads
on and on and on.