call numbers of the wild

Call Numbers of the Wild
by jessica knauss
The cold night gnaws at her feet,
quickly moving
on the path
along the edge of the pond.
The stars twinkle like Morse code.
Her breath hangs in the air long after she is gone.
In the pond it is dark,
with fish and snapping turtles.
Her eyes have strained
to investigate their world.
Up the wide steps go the raggedly cold-gnawed feet.
The heat inside the library keeps her cheeks red
and her eyelids low.
Her fingers gather dust and mold
as they fly along
after row
of books books books,
All In Order
before she can leave them.
Books books books
navigate their dust and mold through her nose, up into her brain.
Books books books
draw her eyes into infinity.
Above and below,
to the left and to the right,
in front and behind,
what is not book is concrete.
Dust and mold. Pulp, ink, concrete.
There is no air at Infinity.
Only call numbers.
PQ 6323 . A1 1979b v. 1.
PQ 6323 . A1 1979b v. 2.
The fish watch with unblinking eyes
as again the chilled feet,
now down to the bones,
step hurriedly around the pond their home.
PQ 7797 .C7145 R3.
The stars overheard tap out their code.
The water is not as cold as she had imagined it would be
E 125 .N9 N88.
as it closes over her feet,
her knees, her hips,
BF 241 .I44 1973.
her shoulders,
her neck,
and her hair.
BD 21 .W4.
It feels fuzzy.
The water feels fuzzy
like dust and mold.

0 thoughts on “call numbers of the wild

  1. Not the greatest poem I’ve ever read, but interesting enough to be memorable. I love how you use call numbers as poetry. Yet the repetition of “dust and mold” is kinda tiring, but still I like this.–I’m surprised no one else has made any comments on it.

  2. Jessica, I like it a lot. It might be the English major in me, but I couldn’t resist checking out the call numbers (I had to use MIT library instead of Wheaton, so I only got close on 3 and missed entirely on a couple–just goes to show you that different libraries have different priorities). But there was a definite Spanish pattern in the PQs and the BD is philosophy):
    El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha / Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra ; edición, introducci
    Hopscotch / Julio Cortázar ; translated from the Spanish by Gregory Rabassa.
    Western philosophy : an anthology / edited by John Cottingham
    As usual, provocative and cool at the same time,

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