What does it mean, the children ask, borrow a book?
Why borrow when you can buy everything – print on demand –
from a warehouse the size of the amazon rainforest
or download to read later? They laugh when we say we
used to walk to a building where you could ‘borrow’ books.
The brown packages tumble through the letterbox:
as if they’d ever give them back! The boy skims through
a billion pages. The girl fondles her kindle like a wounded pet.
They look up at us and smile, their eyes shining pixels:
what does it mean, the last library has shut tight?
We try to explain. Date stamps flicker on their lashes.
Rosie Miles (February 2011)