Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2019  Vol. 18 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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The Bookmobile Lady: Pittsylvania County, Virginia

She said the first one was something like the truck
that delivered milk to the folks in town. But women

drove it and women walked to meet it, time
and place predetermined, a church’s parking lot,

country store, a crossroads—never mind the mud,
the dust, all of them home-bound, child-bound, crop-

bound. She ferried requests from the month before,
some newer novels, mysteries, romances,

this a cargo meant for lending, not to be kept—
and better than the way their houses would not

be kept, a book consumed the way the baking
of a loaf of bread consumed the fire they set

and measured in the cook-stove, invisible such
leavening, ancient, temporal. When a woman

signed the card to take a volume home,
it was likely the one time she wrote her name

all month—wrote anything at all, her signature
slim, unpracticed correspondence with the next

woman who would choose the same, and proof that she
was here and would return, something she got to keep.  

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