Hello Harold Washington Library

Or why you should keep track of your personal belongings

I lost my journal in the Chicago Public Library.
Set down to free my hands and it lay forgotten among the books.
Level 5 near the classics
I set it down to pick up an old copy of Shakespeare but
So entranced by the words of others, I overlooked
My own sitting there on the stack.
Someone will pick it up and open it as if it’s
Supposed to be public-
They’ll flip through my entries and birthdates
Of relatives I’ve marked down so I don’t
Forget and wonder who Emily is.
They’ll wonder what it is doing shelved
Near Dickens and Dickinson,
Author unknown except to say that her
Husband’s birthday is on Feb 27 and
That she feels inadequate from time to time.
Maybe they’ll find it raw and rare,
Unedited for publication and wonder
About the messy handwriting that
Starts out nice and ends as scribbles
Only intelligible to the author.
They’ll wonder how the story ends
Or where it started for that matter.
They’ll be tempted to call Carol whose
Number is marked down in a corner
Near the top of page 7 and ask
To speak to a writer, but they won’t
Because then they would have to admit
To reading it.
They’ll leave the ticket stub from the Coheed concert
Bookmarked on the same page I left it
But wonder what it is doing on April 7
When the show was 2 years ago in September.
It won’t be returned to the lost and found
On the 3rd floor or to the nice security guard
Who helped me find the elevator
To the Winter Garden on the 9th floor.
Instead, they’ll move it from Eliot to Whitman
And Back to Dickens, unsure exactly where it belongs.


About Caren

A typical alcoholic poet living in London
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