The Library

The well worn, wooden floors creaked;
the worn, wooden stairway steps creaked;
those were the only sounds allowed
in the library of my youth. I loved

those sounds; I hear them now when I
walk across floors at my local library
where sounds are of feet slapping hard,
cold linoleum and people chitchatting

except in the reading room where only
coughing and throat clearing are allowed.
I loved fingering and flipping the cards
in the Dewey Decimal System card catalogue,

writing down the number of where to find
the book and then embarking on the hunt.
I’m glad for my local library, but I loved
the library of my youth built in the 19th

century, a red brick building down the hill
from Michigan Avenue and 111th Street
turning left at a street the name of which
I can’t remember (maybe Edbrooke Ave.)

and north toward 109th part of the Pullman
neighborhood. I would run up the cement
stairway to the front door and pull with
all my strength the heavy, wooden door

that creaked as it opened. As I entered
the librarian would frown and put her
finger to her lips in the anticipation
that I would start talking to my buddies,

who entered with me, which, of course,
I would have but didn’t dare. Come to
think of it, she never looked at Russ,
Terry or Dennis. She knew the loudmouth.

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