Chicken

From Spring Cleaning, the collection published in 2015.

Chicken

The library book is overdue
the fine is four dollars and
rising every day and you search under the seat in the car
in the bookshelf in the living room
in the closet in the kitchen.
You just can’t find it.
They have sent you two notices and
you are beginning to feel
odd
even driving past the library
never mind the thought of going in
and explaining.
You just don’t want to.
Meanwhile
all this time
the library records are wrong.
The book is sitting on the shelf.
On the shelf. Safe.
You don’t know a thing about it
because you have exiled yourself
from knowledge
via spinelessness.
It’s just a library book
for heaven’s sake.

Upper Moreland (PA) Library, January, 2015.

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6 thoughts on “Chicken

  1. Thank you, yes, I read a lot and finally I had to start keeping a notebook on what the status of all my library books was, plus, I have learned to check the internet records and the shelves. And yet I can’t imagine how so many books are all going here and there and so few ever get lost. It’s a tribute to the system and to librarians.

  2. I was recently accused (yes – accused!) of having an overdue library book that I absolutely knew I had returned but using the out of ours postbox thingummy. It took longer than it ought to have done to clear the whole mess up and for them to locate the book within their system. Meanwhile the fine had reached a point where I could have bought at least one copy of the book for them and maybe two. But I’m such a library loyalist that I felt guilty and awful for causing a drama even though I did not in fact have the book.

  3. I’ve had a couple of incidents and I got the benefit of the doubt, being a long time patron plus I keep a logbook. But there is that element of accusation, even so. And I also understand the feeling of not wanting to upset the library! I am glad it worked out in the end.

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