Special surprise today from Jen! Here’s my favorite so far, seems applicable to librarians, no?
Even as a boy I was a straightener.
On a long table near my window
I kept a lantern, a spyglass, and my tomahawk.
Never tomahawk, lantern, and spyglass.
Always lantern, spyglass, tomahawk.
You could never tell when you would need them,
but that was the order you would need them in.
On my desk: pencils at attention in a cup,
foreign coins stacked by size,
a photograph of my parents,
and under the heavy green blotter,
a note from a girl I was fond of.
These days I like to stack in pyramids
the cans of soup in the pantry
and I keep the white candles in rows like logs of wax.
And if I can avoid doing my taxes
or phoning my talkative aunt
on her eighty-something birthday,
I will use a ruler to measure the space
between the comb and brush on the dresser,
the distance between shakers of salt and pepper.
Today, for example, I will devote my time
to lining up my shoes in the closet,
pair by pair in chronological order
and lining up my shirts on the rack by color
to put off having to tell you, dear,
what I really think and what I now am bound to do.