Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Elegy

Not every day but most days that summer

I went calmly and quietly and climbed

to the sixth floor of the library and walked

not fast and not slow but with purpose

down the last row and reached

almost without looking to the same

place on the shelf and pulled out

the large book and carried it to a chair

that looks out toward the ridge, to a mountain

that is there, whether it is or it isn’t,

the mountain people love, maybe for this,

love and die with all their love,

trying, and I opened to the page

where I left off before, and sometimes the library

announced it was closing, sometimes I got hungry,

sometimes it looked like rain, and I’d close the book

and carry it again, with purpose, back to its exact

place on the shelf, and I’d walk down the stairs

and out of the building, and it was like

I’d left it ticking.

Credit


Copyright © 2017 Jill Osier. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Summer 2017.

Author


Jill Osier

Jill Osier’s chapbook from won the Poetry Society of America’s 2017 Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award.

Date Published: 2017-10-16

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/elegy-1