Reed College Library Due-Date Card from the Pocket of Clothes Worn at Home, Ancient and Modern by Friedrich Hottenroth, 1890, by Tricia Knoll
Reed College Library Due-Date Card from the Pocket of Clothes Worn at Home, Ancient and Modern by Friedrich Hottenroth, 1890
The card’s left column stacks rows
of the library’s black inked date-stamps,
a wheel turned to a long-past future time,
a foreclosure on rights to pursue,
a squint against a short span of immersion,
due dates and the possibility of fines.
User names are smudged in pencil,
crossed out when the book comes home.
Only in the early years did any patron ask
for these illustrations more than once a year.
Twenty years have passed.
No one asks for the book at all.
Herr Hottenroth died penniless
in a home for destitute artists.
This is aging – out-dated fabrics,
yellowed paper with ragged edges.
Tricia Knoll is an Oregon poet who retains a special fondness for the smell of old libraries and books whose paper has yellowed at the edges. In early 2018 Antrim House will bring her collection of poetry How I Learned to Be White. Website: triciaknoll.com
The Ekphrastic Review
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