by Liz Berry
The smell of it, even now, is like being stroked behind the knees, it makes me buckle.
A wood in September: the warm singe of heat on bark, sweat, leafsmoke, the air all of a sudden freckled with dust, and me kneeling between the stacks, face hidden in the leaves of a book.
I’m in that formless time before school, waiting for her to finish work. My mom, the librarian. In that humming forest of books, she moves gently as a root. Her scent is everywhere amongst the stacks: the tea on her tongue, the vinegar tang of her feet as she slips off her pinching shoes behind the counter, her perfume, anais anais, white lilies over leather and wood. She is a pale bloom in the dim hush between the shelves and swaying ladders, the soft sh shhh of the date stamp.
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