Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Bookmobile

digital art from uncredited news photo

The Bookmobile
by Mary Jo Balistreri

Every two weeks, we’d search the horizon
for a distant cloud of dust. It never failed us.

Into the dry dirt lot the bookmobile rolled toward
a long line of small bodies baking in South Dakota heat.

Finally, finally when the door to the trailer opened,
the bookmobile lady in wire-rimmed glasses appeared,

her face a text of perception. Black hair swept high on her head,
she stood in her crisp white blouse.

One by one she handed us a towel to wipe sweaty hands
before allowing us to cross her threshold.

Inside, a fan blew cool air, and we felt it a holy place
so different from our homes.

I thumbed through pages of Scarlet O’Hara, but Nancy Drew proved
more exciting in her blue roadster as did the flying flanks
of The Black Stallion and Flame, manes streaming free.

But it was Francie who changed my life.

Like the tree of heaven that sprouted between cracked cement
outside her Brooklyn tenement,

she encouraged me to push ever upward, to rise from my own dirt lot,
and to grow, grow green and alive.

~ previously published on Your Daily Poem