Archive of Letters and Voices • Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Giovanni

• 8 September 2020 •

A Library

After breakfast on Monday
Grandmother washes
the sheets and pillowcases
I wash day with Grandmother
the dishes
I help her hang
the sheets outside
and watch the wind gently
blow them
Grandmother takes her sit-down
and asks me:
Aren’t you going
to return those books?
I hurry up Mulvaney Street
all the way to Vine Avenue
to inside the Carnegie Library
a library is:
a place to be free
to be in space
to be in cave times
to be a crook
to be in love
to be unhappy
to be quick and smart
to be contained and cautious
to surf the rainbow
to sail the dreams
to be blue
to be jazz
to be wonderful
to be you
a place to be
yeah…to be
I go home
and help fold the sheets
and peel the carrots and potatoes and onions
and go sit on the back porch
covering my toes with a quilt
and read

to be

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