There was a crybaby at the library.
Tears were pouring heavily down his face.
He had omitted to do his math
and thought of the anger of his teacher
as the tears fell on his knitted
mittens between the fingers and thumb.
It is raining all over inside the library.
Parts of the brick walls are curling up
and plaster is falling on the heads and beards of students.
It is very dangerous for the books.
The rain comes down from every beam
and the professors do not know whether they should wrap
their articles in themselves or themselves in their articles.
The beautiful new botany professor who is only twenty-six and has
marvelous dark eyes
has makeup running down her face as she runs out the door.
A precious incunabulum inside a glass case
is swimming gently as if in a dishpan.
Tiny letters and pieces of gold that were put there in 1426
are lifting off and turning into scum.
The assistant librarians are afraid to use the telephones
because yellow sparks are coming out of them.
Several young men go up to the attic, saying that the trouble may be from
The electricity goes off and people are standing
between the floors in dangerously wet elevators.
The librarians' Kleenex and aspirin are wet and are melting into each
other in the desk drawers.
The Shakespeare professors come out of the Shakespeare Room
and look around and go back in again; they must stay with the ship.
Fog is rising like rugs between the bookstacks.
People are laughing in a brittle way to disguise their well-grounded panic.
The botany professor is a redemptive figure.
She goes to the Maintenance Department and reports what is happening
in the library.
Eventually the Maintenance Department goes over and fixes things.
The crybaby is definitely not a redemptive figure—he sits
still self-absorbed and shivery, and crying and crying,
and not at all trying to catch up on his math, nor even trying to fake it,
and all the time waves of water dash over his Bean boots
and up onto his lap, splashing his notebooks.
For the impending disgust of his teacher is foremost in his mind
as tears are foremost on his cheeks, where he sits crying and crying in the
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