Closing the book, I find I have left my head
inside. It is dark in here, but the chapters open
their beautiful spaces and give a rustling sound,
words adjusting themselves to their meaning.
Long passages open at successive pages. An echo,
continuous from the title onward, hums
behind me. From in here the world looms,
a jungle redeemed by these linked sentences
carved out when an author traveled and a reader
kept the way open. When this book ends
I will pull it inside-out like a sock
and throw it back in the library. But the rumor
of it will haunt all that follows in my life.
A candleflame in Tibet leans when I move.
"An Afternoon in the Stacks" by William Stafford, from The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems. © Graywolf Press, 1998.
Photography credit: "Book Cell: the inside of a sculpture by Matej Kren," by Sabine (originally color).