They barred the library doors today.
Men in uniform stand patrol, armed and ready
their lantern jaws firm, lips a straight line.
Stoic women, also armed, jog up and down
the block, buttocks moving like pistons.
Someone dashes from a building
an hand-held reader clutched close.
Shots are fired; I don't stay to find out more.
I've packed the car with books, little room for else.
It is my car, his gift to buy my silence,
to make up for the bruises real and otherwise;
never marry a politician who has no use
for literature, has no use for a wife that does.
Eagles have left their nests to vultures
the barren palm trees whimper for their loss
there are ceaseless storms, mud is everywhere
while two legged insects multiply unchecked
The car radio plays Ibsen, bassoons herald the trolls.
I roll down the window, taking a deep breath
outside of Pyr Gynt's Hall of the Mountain King,
foreboding notes of the oboe, a palpable stench of fear.
Am I leaving that, or taking it with me …
-Marge Simon