In the reading room
A boy takes notes
From a World Book volume.
His school report’s
About the telescope
Or Alexander
Or (that old show-stopper)
The Venus flytrap.

Snow falling outside,
A radiator hisses;
Inquiries are whispered;
Someone coughs; a book closes
With an audible thump.
Newspapers on spindles
Hang, limp verticals,
In a rack by a lamp.

And the boy, determined,
With his pencil scratches
His notepad’s green-lined
Yellow pages. . . .
Companionable room,
In that early darkness
You stood in promise
Of a sunnier time.

From broad shallow shades,
The bulbs over the tables
Gloss the rich wood’s
Grainy surfaces,
Though the dark grow deeper,
Though the boy discover
The streets all quiet
Through the homeward night.

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