I hide. 

Behind the unloved cluttered bookshelves, 

camouflaged in a dark salwar kameez, 

I elude prying eyes, 

until my time can come again. 


I hide. 

Within the sunless north wing of this library, 

sixteen padded desks have sixteen cushioned chairs, 

where sixteen well-fed scholar gypsies, 

my one-time devotees, their eyes made dim by screens, 

rush to fill work stations with their games of war. 

It’s years since they last turned a page. 

Their whispered chatter echoes down the hall. 

Its echoes pay lip service to my name. 


I hide. 

I took a vow of silence many years ago. 

I gather wisdom in the twilight gloom. 

I pace closed corridors at night. 

I travel future centuries in dreams. 

Concealed behind the shelves, 

my thumb-nailed pages clear a space 

for the entry of a dog-eared bookworm, 

a reborn relic of the world’s myopic past. 

He will return to read with me again, 

vast alphabets of upright types of love. 


From Paco’s Atlas and Other Poems, published by Setu Publications (Pittsburgh, 2018). 

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