Dreams of a Lover

she leaned back in the wooden chair against institution

green walls of the college library, staring out through glass

doors into the thundering night, and my struggling.

wrestling the door open I dripped my way inside, only to be

told ‘sorry, we’re closed, we just hadn’t locked up yet’ from

one of the night guards sitting next to her smiling.

but she rescued me, with a promise that she would lock up

when she left and an explanation for me. she an english

graduate student who worked at the library on saturday nights.

shivering she saw me, and made me take off sodden sneakers

and sweatshirt in an empty corner, draped over rickety

chairs, careful not to damage books that were both our hearts.

she wore grey skirt and white poet’s shirt, though she wrote

no poetry only criticism, with soft chinese slippers in blue-

green to match her eyes and gold dragons.

miraculously we matched sizes and she insisted I wear the

slippers as we walked through the overhanging rows and

she listened silent while I talked of love and literature.

hours later, rain had stopped but she had me keep the slippers

as I went out into a breaking blue-gold dawn to match her eyes

every sharp cobblestone clearly felt a reminder.

this morning I awoke to a blue-grey silk rose on my windowsill

to match her eyes; I keep it in a glass case streaked with rain

and my memory is all red-gold dragon strands falling on me, burning.

the smell of old books and desire is the greatest aphrodisiac.


M.A. Mohanraj

July 30, 1993