The Feelings Are Overdue

I took out a book from the library.
It was silly and subtle,
Full of cheer and meaning.
I laughed out loud—
No—I snorted out loud.
(And I’m sure the neighbors heard!)
I sobbed with quiet,
Little gasps that filled the room.
I returned to the library,
Angry at not knowing the protagonist’s whereabouts,
Feeling bleak for this terminated journey.
I pluck another from the shelves.

This book was dull.
It sat under a pile of paperwork
For half a month.
Some days I considered
The predicament the characters faced,
But never saw them to their resolution.
(I didn’t have the heart
To say I didn’t care.)
I received an email—
The book is overdue.
I owe $2.50.
Great. A bad book
Accompanies a debt.
Isn’t a dry read debt enough?

Again I walked to circulation.
I paid my fine for refusing to read,
For neglecting written word.
Language is so beautiful! A gift.
Yet I left it alone for too long.
That story felt abandoned,
So it had to make me pay.

I wandered to the shelves
To carefully turn the titles over.
“Don’t judge it by its cover!”
But so many of the covers
Are falling apart anyways.
I take the book in the worst shape;
The one that is the most loved.

—By Mary G.