top of page

the bookstore

Artwork by Isabelle Lu, staff artist

the door wouldn’t budge the first time i grasped the knob.

when i said i wanted to live through history,

i didn’t mean the shields of baby blue,

or solitary confinement to the glowing screen-

this was not the chapter i meant.

perhaps it is foolish to say, but how would it feel,

to hold kerosene lamps with glistening flames

that oscillate with the moonlight and tease the stars,

or to let the ink run down cold fingers to create

a sooty mosaic of splotches and stanzas?

trains would take people and leave smoke,

a time where next encounters were never inevitable

so we would fill our heads with characters from dusty books

and let tears and coffee mark forlorn love letters.

the bookstore smelled of cinnamon and old cigarettes,

a special fragrance that bound each paperback,

at least better than its creased leather.

the owner was a veteran, surrounded by towers of books

which told of stories as vivid and bittersweet as he did.

nestled behind him was a Bronte first edition,

passed through rugged and delicate hands alike,

before it spent its days waiting for finger strokes

on its pages, yellowed by time.

if only we could trace our fingers along crooked spines

that haven’t caved just yet under the weight of their words,

watching the dim lights tantalize the pages before retreating,

sipping dark coffee mangled with salted tears from

the plights of characters we never knew yet knew too well.

when my own chapter was calling for me,

i grasped the doorknob,

hoping it wouldn’t budge.


Krithika Shrinivas is a sophomore at Emory University studying Anthropology and English. An avid poet, Krithika has received 2 Silver Keys for her poetry from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Competition and attended the prestigious Iowa Young Writers Studio to study the theme of identity. Her debut poetry collection, “Honeycomb: Dip into Words” is available on Amazon. When she isn’t writing, you can find her drinking coffee, going for long walks, and playing with her dog.

Isabelle Lu is a 16-year-old creative from Long Island, New York. She is a winner of the New York Times Student Editorial Contest and the Scribe Writing Contest in poetry. She likes collecting strange earrings, which when worn may hinder activities like playing the cello and putting on sweaters. In her daily life, she can be found doodling and enthusing about books to unsuspecting innocents. Her art career began with magical girls.

50 views0 comments


bottom of page