Reading Whitman in the Library
I am burying my toes between leaves of grass.
I call it simplicity.
At the bottom of this page,
type becomes Unity.
It will always be so.
The chair will stop tipping,
shaking organs from their places.
The quiet lingers on,
encompasses all without
masking anything. Its voice a friend
I once knew.
Bookshelves are men,
blue and grey wool. My fingers
caress or smudge,
depending on the ink. Distant.
There is a great divide
between the desire to heal
and the actual bandaging of wounds.
I am as calm as the turning of pages.
I have ink stains. I know the truth
when it sees the whites of my eyes
and lowers its bayonet.
I have all the drum taps
and courage has never been
so far way. The window, the only
air I cannot breathe.
I found humanity in the turning
of pages. Not mine. Never written, just felt.
Just battled the need to shun the Other
in favor of white and red roses,
tearing pages half-way,
sat in between the crowd
and the roses. Which is better.
Jessica Thelen is a poet from Western Massachusetts. Her work has been featured or is forthcoming in Blotterature, Dirty Chai, Flare: The Flagler Review, Free State Review, Meat For Tea: The Valley Review, Gravel, Extract(s), Scapegoat Review, Paper Nautilus, Blood & Thunder, and Mock Orange. She is currently working on her first full-length collection, tentatively titled Nota Bene.