Ghost of the Palace Library
by Deborah P Kolodji

    On damask walls, moving drafts of cold air,
    a watchful oil portrait sees his shadow
    fading as it winds up forbidden stairs.
    Lights dim but a voice, memories echo
    in the closing time stillness.  Employees
    rush away and the cat's hair stands on end
    as the gates close, the custodian flees
    shirking tower cleaning duty again,
    leaving minarets in the moon-glow, arches,
    a domed, mismatched Moorish exterior
    with a Victorian decor.  Time marches
    as millions of library visitors
    trample the grounds following his bequest;
    so he stays, safeguarding what he loved best.

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