She clatters through the back door,
scowls at the librarian's puckered *shush*,
scrapes chair to table, grabs a book
that falls open to text ticked and bracketed
by anonymous hands. She clucks softly,
angles the spine away from policing eyes,
searches each margin as if she had struck
the marks first, worried that some point
might be missed if not underscored in yellow.

The girl sees impressions of her fingers
on the pages, hard evidence that books
are changed by the readers they change.
She slaps covers closed, slides the volume
into the shelves and walks away empty-
handed, reverent, her mind roaring open.

Cheryl Snell

Cheryl Snell ( regularly enjoys the whispering gallery in her local library.