Alison C. Rollins
Self-Portrait of Librarian with T.S. Eliot's Papers

In the year 2020, T.S. Eliot’s papers will be unsealed.

Let us go then, you and I. Let us take the dust in

our claws, lap the hundreds of letters spilling secrets

into the waste land of irreverent mouths.

Have we no couth? Have we not been trained

to know good things come to those who wait?

Each year we gather ‘round the cave. We don our Sun-

day best, come to see what young muse has risen

from the dead. Tomorrow brings the past wrapped

in plastic eggs, the seal of history broken in present tense.

Storage units preserve our culture’s haunted houses.

The canon is merely a ghost story. Write a poem after me

before I’m gone, and please do not include rest in peace,

only those that are forgotten go undisturbed.


Found In Volume 48, No. 01
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Alison C. Rollins
About the Author

Alison C. Rollins was born and raised in St. Louis City. Her poems have appeared in Black Warrior ReviewIndiana ReviewPoetry, and elsewhere. She is a 2016 recipient of the Poetry Foundation's Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg fellowship and a 2018 recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award. She has also been awarded support from the Cave Canem Foundation, Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, and Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. Currently she works as a librarian at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her debut collection Library of Small Catastrophes is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press Spring 2019.