The Librarian's Accident

She takes the handicapped access, the one with the elevator.
A few weeks ago she only recognized the logo.
Words are getting easier if she’s not tired.
Out of the elevator into the library, the walker’s wheels
wanting to stick in the grooves for the sliding door.
She hears her name, but doesn’t dare take a hand to wave.
She says hello and it doesn’t feel like her voice now.
She steers to a table with chairs, and stumbles into one.
They surround her, all her former colleagues;
they all want to touch her, ensure she is real.
She thinks of Jesus and St. Thomas, but her scars stay hidden.
Her friends leave her, know she needs to rest for a few minutes.
She slumps her coat off, looks at the newspapers.
Smoke and fire on the front page, but she fought her own war.
Twisted broken metal versus crooked shattered bones.
A hot day in May, she remembers, the library air dry.
Almost time for her break so she goes to fetch
knowing her co-workers so well she needs no list.
A small box, six coffees, her iced cap so inviting.
A large vehicle, a cement truck, a roly-poly, her children said,
making the machine sound sweet and innocent.
She is too small for the driver to see and then she is flying,
misses the cement and is on grass. Pain is so green.
The coffees are so far away and so empty.
Now in March, she thinks of the hero’s journey,
wonders if she is ready to try a whole book.
She rolls to the shelves, touches the spines of books,
thinks of the metal in her own, the differing temperature.
Not a workplace accident, no extra compensation.
Maybe next year she can come back.
She checks out two books, no self-help, mysteries,
science being discovered, like her life.
She slides out, waves at a crossing guard,
looks at automatic coffee makers in a store window.

Lucile Barker

If you have any thoughts about this poem, Lucile Barker  would be pleased to hear them