*** ‘Vignette City’ is an ongoing project of daily writing and urban photography ***
I must have made a wrong turn somewhere in the central library. Normally I make a right at the display case with the diorama of the old downtown in the 1800s - before the fire, but after the flood - and then a left at the display of pygmy skulls and children’s teeth, but I think I got lost somewhere near the tank with all the hermit crabs because whne I came back to awareness of my surroundings - I’m been trying to remember when the last time was that I saw a bee and that must have gotten me distracted - I found myself in a long room with lower ceilings than I was really comfortable with. I scanned the shelves to see if any of the books would give me a sense of where I was; of what corridor of understanding I’d wandered into.
And I was initially very confused.
There were books about pulley systems and bridges, but also an area dedicated to trilobites. There was a section about cable-stayed bridges, next to a dozen books about viaducts.
I tilted my head at one book that seemed to pop out. It looked like all the others, but the title evocatively proclaimed, Intelligent Skin. I pulled it from the shell and flipped through its pages. It seemed to be an engineering book about eco-friendly architecture. I did not understand much of what I saw there. I replaced it carefully on the shell and then began to look for other similar pearls, other books for the specialized and the serious person which could also be titles of poetry collections. I found many:
Alien Ocean, about microorganisms.
Light on the Land, about railway design.
Flow Life in the Atmosphere, about the biology of the upper sky.
Orphan Road, about calm decay of forgotten highways.
Adventure Underground, about the boring of infrastructural transit tunnels.
Railroads of Tasmania, about railroads in Tasmania.
Gardens in the Sky, about rooftop green spaces.
Demon in the Drop, about acid rain.
How to Live on Paper, about …
But then the lights went out.
I have still not found my way back to the hermit crabs, the pygmy skulls. I have not yet found my way back to anyplace that I know.