Date Stamp

date due

September gone
and another birthday
I pause
before turning the fourth
corner of the year

these book-lined walls
all thought, every emotion
contained
on my calendar I schedule
a day to run free

last day of term
locking the library door
on silence
I check myself out
for a long, long loan

Julie Thorndyke

(Tanka Splendor Winner 2006)