At Bowie Branch Library by Adam Tavel

                    for my mother


But I remember too the musty stacks
dominoed with gapless shipshape shelves,
the Dewey Decimals marking each spine
on little squares that blistered up through tape.

Twice a month after school I scampered up
those behemoth steps, giddy to shed
Sister Rosa’s droll catechism chants
like the gray lace of spiderwebs that clung

to my backpack’s canvas straps each time
I slid inside my hollow willow hideout.
My limit six, I drew Hardy Boys I knew
and waddled down to circulation.

The thudding stamp tattooed each pocket card.
Through that wall of glass our Skylark purred,
your A.A. handbook renewed and hid
behind my open X-Men at the wheel.

Adam Tavel received the 2010 Robert Frost Award and is the author of The Fawn Abyss (Salmon, forthcoming) and the chapbook Red Flag Up (Kattywompus). His recent poems appear or will soon appear in The Massachusetts Review, Quarterly West, Passages North, Southern Indiana Review, Salamander, and Crab Orchard Review, among others. He is an associate professor of English at Wor-Wic Community College on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.