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Congratulations to our three poetry contest winners!

Susan Naomi Bernstein
Pantoum Upon Finding James Baldwin’s Another Country and Queens Public Library eBooks in the Sonoran Desert

The mind finds itself
Evaporating in the Sonoran Desert
With breath-stopping heat and longing for
Dreams of Queens breezes faraway

Evaporating in the Sonoran Desert
I long for Baldwin and New York
With breath-stopping heat and longing for
Another Country

I long for Baldwin and New York
Clicking the ipad link for Queens Library to
Another Country
Inside the ethereal ether of an ebook

Clicking my ipad for Queens Library to
Baldwin’s words of rainy New York spring
Inside the ethereal ether of an ebook
The mind finds itself

text


Yocheved Friedman
Notes From A Grateful Reader…

Seventeen. And I find myself back in The Children’s Room.
The spines seem old but my fermenting childhood seems older.
It is my junior year.
I write my first storybook.

Twenty-two. I walk the library’s cement ramp in sprawling frost.
I pass the front desk that once towered over me.
Brown, overgrown hair,
tiny fingers beneath a pile of uneven pages.
It is Friday.
I volunteer to read a story.

Twenty-four. And I’m off to medical school.
Goodbye, I say.
To this place that has made my words kinetic.
One day, I will become a healer.
But I have always been a collector of old stories.
I see my languages—
caught in tiny fingers—tumbling—
out of small mouths.

My library.

Giver of words.

text


Ross Perlin
If on a summer’s day a reader

Walk in: here anyone can enter.
How many places can say that?
Nothing to sell, nothing demanded,
just pause and peace.

A lady sits ready to answer any question.
DVDs line up in a dozen languages,
forms to vote, become a citizen:
civic simplicity, in a soaring public room.

At the tables, the clumps and cliques
of after-school kids with textbooks,
backpacks, laptops, giggles and gasps.
Wifi—free and fast, leading everywhere at once.

But your eyes go there, one spot on the shelf,
to a single spine with a little number,
the book you were meant to read and now,
because this is our city, you’ll hold,
check out, take home, read tonight to the one you love.