library

the book had the title
“Speed Reading”
in big bold letters on the cover
I slid it across the desk

the librarian was large
an example of what
used to be called
“matronly”

she went through the rigmarole
of cards and ink and stamps
thonk! thonk!
and slid it back

I riffled the pages with my thumb
thrrrrip!
and sliding it back once more
said “thanks very much”

she froze in her clumpy shoes
and gave me a look
Lucifer himself
would have been impressed
a look of winter
of savage contempt
of something beyond the grave

I felt that dreadful gaze on my back
as I speedily withdrew
my giggles forced down into silence
back outside
I think my laughter bursting out
was accompanied
by a tiny drop
of wee