*Not your average publishing company

Librarians in the 1970s

Where I come from, young women dyed
their hair grey to get jobs as librarians.
They wore no make-up and slept with plastic

clothes pins pinching their cheeks to stimulate
wrinkle cell production. Each one had a Crawford’s
Department Store revolving charge card, where

she shopped for ill-fitting polyester dresses, sensible
wet-look sandals, and purses in the budget basement.
These librarians wore nylons with reinforced heels

and toes, girdles, garter belts and bras that resembled
suits of armor. They married the library, like a nun
married the church. They were as silent as nurses

and walked wobbly on sticky wooden floors.
Their lives were as orderly as the Dewey Decimal
system and they always knew where they belonged.

Gregg Shapiro is the author of nine books including the poetry chapbook Refrain in Light (Souvenir Spoon Books, 2023). Recent/forthcoming lit-mag publications include The Penn Review, RFD, Gargoyle, Limp Wrist, Mollyhouse, Impossible Archetype, confetti, and Panoplyzine, as well as the anthology Let Me Say This: A Dolly Parton Poetry Anthology (Madville, 2023). An entertainment journalist, whose interviews and reviews run in a variety of regional LGBTQ+ and mainstream publications and websites, Shapiro lives in South Florida with his husband Rick and their dog Coco.

Read more of his work here.

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