LIBRARY IN A STORM

by Luke Otley

Go gently forward, these doors move for you;
don’t rush. Your presence in that air-lock;
that two-and-a-half feet of empty space; you own,
enjoy it.

That swoosh- swift, elegant, mechanical-
moves without prejudice, the glass polished and impartial;
the double panes bore out and in, ancient; unrevealing,
reflecting dim bulbs

indoors; and outside- a shy moon refracted, shattered by imperfection
in the glass. Endless feet away a woman rushes in the rain,
jacket stretched from her shoulders, the echo of her footfalls
cracking, gnashing skywards-

the ushering warmth of that space; a hug, a home-cooked meal
and breath on your neck, softness against your heaving gut,
a simple sentence, perhaps “It’s okay”,
perhaps not.

And too soon you’re in, enveloped completely, blinking,
nervous as a foal, smiling weakly, waiting
as if for your name to be called; bad news to be told.
Manage one last

chance look over your shoulder, but already the rain,
and all things dark seem a shadow of a shadow,
the perplexed ghost of yourself blocking
the fate of the woman

kept alive in those short moments of memory;
running, always running, in the rain.