poem15 Jun 2020 08:38 am
The Long Room of the Old Library at Trinity College, Dublin

Daniel Ausema

The architecture in the library of whispers
holds onto every breath half spoken,
records them in its own flourishes and whimsies.
The shelves hum with sighs and insinuations,
and innuendos flutter among the rafters

On lonely days patrons
follow the wafting memory of a loved one’s words
among the stacks, tracking its position
by a decimal system built on scent.
Once found, the whisper expands, surrounds
the patron, the shelves, the world,
granting the aural bones for life to flesh out.

On tense days, officials come to track down
scarcely-spoken sedition
and clues to ancient crimes.
Only by luck do they find either

The gothic waterspouts outside
spill their secrets only when it rains
but are said to hold the oldest
and least understood of the library’s mysteries.

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