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Loveland Library

On school nights, Dewey’s decimals guided
my cart’s wheelspin through labyrinthine rows.
Near-sighted old men came in to read the Sun,

the Enquirer, the Times.  Their wives pecked
at the books-on-tape.  Children spun through the spinning
racks while their mothers pocketed romances

into paper bags.  There were the yellers, unhappy
with fines.  Those who couldn’t find what
they wanted, those who didn’t know what to find.
At night, the lonesome man who slunk through the aisles
like yolk on a skillet’s shine.  I didn’t mind
my ordering work.  I breathed the books, the older
the better.  Oily, woody, spiced like mushrooms
or vanilla.  When the librarians weren’t looking,
I pulled hardbacks from the top shelf, popped

their spines.  On the inside cover’s spread,
the brown spots of an avocado’s inner fruit. 
Mold bloomed no matter what we did.  I haunted
that floor, so motionless that the lights cut out. 
The millions of printed pages raised my hair,
and I waited in the opacity, glad of it.  Each night,

I hung the “Closed” sign, then braced for the metal slam
of books falling from the drop box to the receiving bin.
Sometimes, I think, all night they tumbled in.



How lonely can she be driving subdivision
streets that cloverleaf and curl into cul-de-sacs,

where houses slouch in alternating shades
of brick and shadows tip across backlit blinds. 

Where housecats rub nubby spines along
the maples’ jagged bark and possums steal

through her headlights’ sweep, each solitary
in its cross.  Where the nearest highway

is a loop, and the sun, when it wakes, is a
bloodshot eye watching her drive and drive.  


Corinna McClanahan Schroeder’s work appears or is forthcoming in such journals as Shenandoah, The Gettysburg Review, Tampa Review, Poet Lore, Blackbird, and Copper Nickel.  She is the recipient of an AWP Intro Journals Award in poetry and was named a Ruth Lilly finalist in 2011.  She holds an MFA from the University of Mississippi and is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Southern California.