I always thought I would grow up to work in a Bookmobile.
It’d be my job to drive the lumbering green bus through the hot wide streets of summer
Park on dusty schoolyard lots, or at empty, half-finished construction sites
And then crank open the doors for the children,
Who’d stumble, blinking, up the steps and into the dark, cool cavern that smelled
Of sticky-sweet glue and old paper.
I would talk to each one, my voice confidentially low against the hum of the air-conditioning.
“Nancy Drew is a simp,” I would say, “but here are the books where the girls are pals,
Have adventures, and eventually boyfriends, if you stick with the series.”
“There’s not a lot of girls in the Little Blue Books of History line,” I’d point out, “but
Dolly Madison and Clara Barton are pretty interesting, and Jane Hull gets thrown
Off a horse and then gets what she wants.”
“Take this Alice in Wonderland,” I might whisper, “if you like lies.” And that book
About the migrant worker girl? I would push that one a lot, even though I knew
Their parents, with those Goldwater stickers on their cars, wouldn’t like it.
Then, at the end of the day, I would drive home in my Bookmobile.
It would sit in the driveway, quietly humming through the night
As I lay in my bed, surrounded by books and books and
Reading until the last bright star faded in the Oklahoma morning.
Originally published in This Land, Vol. 5, Issue 15, August 1, 2014.