After a day of high school kids reciting poetry, I hold up in the Barre public library. Not far from me, a man unscrews a plastic bottle of sweet tea and mutters to himself. Abruptly, I pause my frantic emailing and wonder if I’m speaking to myself, too.
It’s March and sunny, and the snow has melted — not entirely, but a noticeable amount — since this morning. I’ve left my jacket in the car, as if daring myself to complain about this breeziness-with-a-promise-of-spring in my thin dress.
My head is still filled with poetry, and with the people I’ve met today who, in one way or another, bend their lives around writing and art — people who fashion meaning from the sometimes jagged stuff of this world.
Like libraries, poetry has always been a home to me, filled with the things of the world that both amuse and enchant me — like the man laughing at some secret only he might understand, and myself, staring out the window at a little girl in muddy black boots, digging through the soggy snow with a snapped-off stick, searching for treasure.
I am offering this poem to you,
since I have nothing else to give.
Keep it like a warm coat
when winter comes to cover you,
or like a pair of thick socks
the cold cannot bite through,
I love you…
— Jimmy Santiago Baca