The chiming clock.
The woman at her reading table sneezing.
The hiss of traffic after rain has sleeked the street.
The chime sounding off the silent library air.
Outside, a kind of monumental, after-afternoon-rain
relenting, something loosening and the ground
going soft, glistening, the water on it taking in
the world, the sycamore drawing water up
its roots, the huge trunk sopping it.
In the reading room
the vase of daisies: yellow, white,
and flaming orange.
Magazines and books, a lit figure
bent to her work, lifting her shoulders slowly
up and looking out, letting a breath go.
Smiling when the child comes in with a question.
Outside, the spreading yellow maple shedding branches.
A traffic jam on Connecticut Avenue, car horns blaring.
Birds from dawn to dusk at the feeder:
black flashings across the blank window.
of Newark Street dazzled, feeling the old hunger.
Now the child
is shaping an arabesque by the computer in the children's room;
now she is wrapped up in a book, reading; now she's standing up
near the librarian, a duchess demanding her cardigan, grinning
at the other children -- their carelessness, sulking, crying, laughing
around the information desk -- as the light seeps through the Venetian blinds.