His Life as a Librarian

by Jefferson Navicky

He worked as a young man in the medallions collection of the National Library, and published scholarly articles on nuministics. Somewhat later in life, more destitute and living in the provinces, he married a younger actress.  After a few good years, she said, “God, please breathe on me,” and watched the rain write autumn on the window.  In a year, she died of pneumonia.  He returned to Paris to again work in the National Library, the memory of her love clinging to his skin.  He shaved with a thick cream, a beaver brush, and a straight razor.  He cut his face in sadness.  His nights were unemployed, stars and rivers, a fear of a hernia.  The Library as Memory.  People come and go.  Your eyes are lonely.  He met Francesca in special collections.  They married in 1946.  She cared for him.  He became slightly sadder, and began to lose his sight. He died as they made love on a cold April evening, their naked spines in the moonlight moving quickly and delicately through the unreal city.