Friday Poem

The Reading Room

had at its center an enormous globe that showed the way the
world was. It turned as easily about its expensive spindle as the world itself
and I spun it slowly, exploring place after place, each country with a color
defining “I amness.” How much blue the sea took to get its proper share.

Sometimes I would sit in the room and read my books for awhile
before roller skating home on the street that had the smoothest sidewalks
so the wheels clamped to my shoes with a key would not catch on a tree-
root-propped slab, tear loose, and send me tumbling to another scraped
knee. Sometimes I’d finish my book and return it before setting off from the
friendly silence.

The room was high-ceilinged, tall windowed, square, with a
square of leather-cushioned chairs surrounding the globe. This is how I want
to live, I felt rather than said, in a solid, permanent, somewhat dustily elegant place,
with the round certainty of the way things are before me.

This was sixty years ago or more. Only the blue of the sea has
stayed itself. Now the whole old globe with its intricate, pattern of forgotten
countries rests, a curiosity, in the back room of the antique shop of the
world. Maybe the library still stands, though most of the books I read have
long ago disintegrated or disappeared.

by Nils Peterson
from A Walk to the Center of Things
Ceasura Editions