Poem: So Much Happiness in the Poetry Room

City Lights Bookstore photo by Eileen Ridge

City Lights Bookstore
photo © 2010 by Eileen Ridge

So Much Happiness in the Poetry Room

The poetry room is upstairs
Sacred space in City Lights’ attic
I ascend the staircase
Holy holy holy
Touch each tread
With quiet feet
Each step feels
Like a pilgrimage

How long there
Lost in timeless silence
When two women enter
First guiding second
“This is the poetry room.
There’s not much here
But it’s famous.”

I am aghast.
Two books cradled
In the crook of my arm
A third splayed open
In my hand
Naomi Shihab Nye’s So Much Happiness
There’s so much here
I can’t even process it all

It must be the second woman,
Whispering names on signs and spines,
“Ferlinghetti . . . Ginsberg . . .
“Excuse me,” whispering,
She’s reaching over top of me
For a book that lies behind

The women descend the creaking stairs
The books are in my lap now
And once again, there is silence
So much happiness in the poetry room

© Eileen Ridge 2013