by makalani bandele

         woman behind the reference desk with her gas mask on. to have all
the trappings of a quiet, contemplative space where you can obtain a deeper
knowledge and understanding of yourself and the world around you. no
loitering. not trying to objectify her, but she adjusted her bra strap like
she was getting ready to deconstruct somebody for themselves. the creepy,
yellow and black safe place sign by the entrance with the larger yellow
background figure looming over, as if to swallow with his broad, yellow
arms, the smaller black one. everybody mistakes blood spatter on the stall
wall for graffiti. word of caution: sex workers reinvented the whore bath.
the sign says, ‘faucet is unfixable.’ brotha down on his luck, but up on
pokeno, from the camp under the 85 overpass is searching for the floor
where language takes over and provides more permanent shelter. meanwhile,
what to do about the cold-blooded creature climbing up the wall between the
fiction bookcases? another volunteer shelving books had to act like she was
a boy, when she wanted to be a long journey with precocious ankles. graffiti
about the woman behind the reference desk on the bathroom stall was
inaccurate, but sensitive to the fact that it was her time of the month. only well-read people hang themselves in between the stacks after giving in to their last hope that
books will save them. the executive director is embezzling whole volumes of
encyclopedias by the tens. he is such a cliché, but the librarian is blind,
and sexy when he takes off his glasses and lets his hair down. who needs
acquaintances, with friends of the library like these?



makalani bandele is an Affrilachian Poet. His work has been published in several anthologies and widely in print and online journals. He is the author of under the aegis of a winged mind, awarded the 2019 Autumn House Press Poetry Prize. The poem published here belongs to an unpublished manuscript entitled, vandals of knock city. Other poems from the manuscript have been published or are forthcoming in Ocean State Review, Inverted Syntax, and Posit.

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