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Ghosts in the Stacks Poem

Ghosts in the Stacks Poem By R. H. W. Dillard

You know the signs: the sweet flower’s
Scent in the bare alcove, the chilling
Cold corner by the unused desk,
The damp that seeps like sour water
Into each bone’s marrow, lights
That circle a sleeping reader’s head
Like a wreath in motion, the thud
On the roof on a windless day,
Or the familiar shadowy form that slips
From a carrel and floats to the floor,
The shy figure that always moves
Around the corner just as you look,
The one in the derby and the tattered
Sleeve, the beckoning fair one
That weighs you down like a low cloud
On a day when the hills are shrouded
And the trees are silent through
Hanging fog, the tinkle of crystal
Sprinkling the back staircase as from
A shattered chandelier, whispers
Of printed syllables turning on themselves
In sibilant discussion late in the day,
A groan as of bending heavy steel
When the last light is turned off
Just before the locking of the door,
The giggle that follows, patter
Of pages, and the blue glow of electrical
Screens searching themselves for answers
That cannot be found, and row on row on row
The books where dreams are bound and stamped
And stored, where all together, letter, mark,
And letter, the word we have always sought,
May finally be written for all who see to see.

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