i feel safest within libraries
where time freezes in the air and i can live out other lives without leaving my chair
these pages hold souls and these shelves hold dreams, from the floor to the dust on the top shelf dancing under the celestial light of the ceiling
i slip into libraries for a vacuum-like place
and forget how quickly time can pass when i sneak between the pages
why let my body take up spaces that are painful? and hostile? and cold?
when i can breathe free and exist where i am welcome, where i will never grow old
i go to libraries where ink stains thumbs and dog ears cover doubts, where i can hide in comfy chairs and never come out
where pages flipping are my symphony and gentle tapping peace and liberty
where knowledge is my charter and my right.
i stay until the sun’s bright eyes grow weary through the night
shelves grow heavy limbs, flickering lights will fade to dark, and the night will hug my spinning thoughts like film reels spinning on
where i can whisper to the empty shelves is anybody there
and a thousand different authors’ voices whisper back we will always be here
—Mar Khorkhordina, third-year political science.