Monday, June 22, 2009



by Barbara Kussow
(published in ByLine magazine, February 2007)

scrunched down in a chair not meant for sleeping
I awaken with a prolonged sweetness like savoring

the last pages of a novel I don’t want to end
a sometime insomniac in my own bed I have become

a public napper in the afternoon hush of the public library
fiction section unfolding my curved spine among readers

too preoccupied or polite to notice near the “B” section
where the brothers have been shifted again twins

one better known than the other I knew in another library
long ago we were discontented clerks insufferable I’m sure

handing other people’s novels across the counter even then
his ambition an intriguing book jacket he was certain to fill

he had the slouch the beret worn atilt over thin red hair
pale blue go-to-hell eyes behind round wire-rimmed glasses

a brash manner with feigned contrition if anyone took offense
I keep meaning to take one of his books to the circulation

desk and slide it across the counter but I’ve gotten no further
than the photograph showing his fuller visage and somewhat

satisfied smile his plots less compelling than his persona—
a developing character in the novel I’m still planning to write

Copyright 2007, Barbara Kussow