I walk down the street, grad student bag slung full over my shoulder. I shift and lug. I take it to work, to class, to bars, to movies, to parties. I stow it in corners, sling it under my chair. I gather broken blood vessels under its weight. I open it up on the bus for just five more minutes. Here they are again.
I am in the corner, over there, with the books. All my books. I am scribbling frantically at the kitchen table, volumes stacked up haphazard beside me. I am wrapped in a blanket on the couch with two books. I can't decide which one to open first.
I am in the bookstore with a fifty dollar gift certificate, staring. I am in the bookstore. I am in the classics section, staring at the green covers of Latin volumes. I am in history, graphic novels, young adult. I am on the floor, sorting through my stack, weighing my options back and forth. I order coffee and monopolize a table. I am all alone, here and here and alone and here.
I keep my hands in my coat, in my pocketsful of paper and pens. My fingers fall easily between the leaves.
I go to the library. I work at the library. I drag my bag (full already) up the stairs. I stash volumes in carrels, sneak back upstairs on my break. I am reading Dante, Monica Furlong, Robin McKinley, Shakespeare, Anne Carson, H.A. Rey, Sir Keith Thomas. I run upstairs for a reference.
In the bread aisle at the supermarket, I stop, dislocated.
Am I having trouble breathing?
I hide at my desk. I hide in the stacks. I hover in the stairwell. I lurk, clutch my prizes to my chest like blood. You come upon me suddenly from nowhere, find me crouching over a page like a mendicant.