When the Bookmobile Lady Drives Down Your Street

By Colleen Michaels


When the bookmobile lady drives down your street

consider her to be behind the controls of an invisible plane.

Sharpen your sight and shout Shazamm!

Don’t fall for the glasses on the chain thing.

It’s an insider joke, mostly for show.

She’s got 20/20, heat seeking vision, a third eye.


And under the cuffs of her cardigan

she wears the steel bracelets of Wonder Woman.

You want to ban a gay penguin, try it lady.

She’ll march you up to the third floor of this library

to the justice league, the federation of free thought

and politely, yet firmly, remind you of the little matter

of civil liberty. She keeps the lasso of truth in her belt loop.


I’ve seen the jokers who try to trip up the reference librarians.

Riddle me this, Reference Librarian,

When was the Great Vowel Shift?

I need a romantic, but not cheesy, poem for wedding

and I don’t want any capitol letters in it.

How do I get the garlic smell off my hands?

Feathers unruffled she hands them a piece of scrap paper,

wasting little lead on her miniature golf pencil:

15th-18th centuries. Try ee cummings. Vinegar.

Touché, librarian, touché.


Once a librarian was asked to switch careers,

pull a Freaky Friday with an archenemy.

A Lex Luther - A Vegas show girl.

Well, it seems that the librarian with her large

head full of information and strong sense of balance

had no problem supporting the feathered headgear.

So skilled she was at entering other worlds by cracking spines

you couldn’t pick her out of the high-kicking lineup.

The showgirl, for all her staged glitter and flesh tone,

was only useful as a page. Stacked, but only able to shelve.


If you rush to return a book at 10 to 9,

pay attention to this twilight time 

between mortal and divine, 

those of us who borrow and those who freely lend.

The librarians are putting on their magnificent wings

and gorgeous shoes, stepping out of phone booths,

setting up a buffet near the microfilm.