I hear them coming, down the aisle of our library
clucking over the fairy books, pecking amiably at their covers.
When a Ripley’s Believe It or Not catches one’s eye
she squawks, and there’s much bustling
at the juicy pictures.
I see him, fastidious forager.
He has slipped behind my desk, is rifling through
the return bin, has his paws on the latest Dog Man
which is surely on hold for someone else.
I’d tell him to put it back but
raccoons are fearsome when approached.
Her teacher has sent her to find a book;
she plods through the stacks, not finding one
worth sticking her neck out for.
“What’s the biggest book in this library?” he asks.
Together we carry the unabridged dictionary to a table
where he unhinges his jaw—or maybe it’s his backpack--
and swallows it whole. He won’t need another book for a week.
The Wild Boar
This omnivore snuffles through one display
after another, arriving at my desk with breath redolent
of early readers, biographies, even holiday books
long buried underground.
The Guinea Pig
“Do you have any books about…” fill in the blank
with the latest game or show. All too often
I forget to feed her, leave her squeaking softly
in her too small cage.
The Border Collie
The day after library day he is back, pushing each book
through the return slot, eyeing me expectantly.
“Would you like to check out more books?”
I ask. These words arc above us and he is off--
fetching the stick I’ve thrown.