The Cuyahoga County Public Library system is sending out daily email prompts in honor of National Poetry month! The idea is to write a new poem each day based on that day’s prompt.
Library prompts and poems can be found here. Below is my poem based on today’s prompt.
“Why I Can’t Tell You About My First Time”
I can’t remember
the first time I stepped into a library
and smelled the sweet musty smell
of used paperbacks,
escapism and knowledge-seeking,
the first time I asked my parents
to read aloud
the signs we passed on the highway,
or the first time I sat
in the branches of the tallest tree
in the playground
behind our church
trying to sound out
what letters made up words
because I hadn’t been taught to read yet.
I can’t recall the first book
that I fell in love with,
falling into its pages,
examining the pictures for clues to the story.
Nor do I remember
the first book I ever read on my own,
or my first book without pictures
– a truly shocking concept!
I do remember being disappointed
when our local library moved to a new location
and my mother was no longer able to take me.
I remember spending most of my free time
– not including playing with friends
in the elementary school library
where I checked out a book on anatomy
that I read cover to cover,
yet didn’t check out again after I dreamed
that the library was literally
the beating heart of the school…
I get that now.
Then the Middle School library
provided me with more options,
I’d check out
the maximum number of books allowed
from that school’s library,
in a huge backpack,
bent double from its weight
as I walked the mile or so home
in my brown-and-gold plaid
In the High School library,
I borrowed tons of books
on the Salem witch trials,
and Stephen King novels. By this time,
I worked and could afford to buy them too,
but when I learned to drive?
I rediscovered the library
my mother had lost,
to the doors of the Community College,
walked within its holy walls,
and check out the maximum again.
Later I drove
to other libraries within my county
to get more books
as well as audiobooks, videos of Shakespeare
and Danny DeVito, magazines, horror and action and fantasy,
movies that I’d sit at home and enjoy
lounging on the couch or in bed.
I don’t remember specifics,
only always loving
for as long as I can remember.
*image courtesy of BigFoto.com
*Written for the prompt as well as in honor of National Library Week and my favorite libraries, Cuyahoga Library system, The Massillon Library, and the Canal Fulton Library. I love you all.