Poem: Social Anxiety/Introversion as a Librarian: Sensory Overload



Maybe my mom is right, and one

day, I’m about to outgrow

my social anxiety and “come out

of my shell” (the main project

of my ninth grade teachers).


But I think it’s happening–

I’m at the circulation desk

and a crowd of human voices,


are coming all at once, reciting their

biographies as they drop books

on the desk and I didn’t turn into

a deer in highlights. My social battery

is still full. My eyes are absorbing

their light, their extroversion. I may

really like people, I don’t mind that the phone

won’t stop ringing and the trainee wants

to make a comment. A man says

here’s the thing about Donald Trump though,

another grumbles, “kids these days”,

then it’s I’ve been waiting for this book

for days,  then I just want to let you know my taxes

pay for this library so refund the 85 cents

the printer took from me, the trainee

has another question, let me tell you

what I think of Syrian refugees,

let me tell you how Jesus is the man, my sista,

did you know you come from an African queen?

my mother came here from Italy in 1903,

this book will change your life,

do you know anything about filing taxes?

Can you take a look at my W2? 

this book has the real truth about Jesus,

this book was horrible,

I’m tired of you white people,

Is October 12 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day?

Sorry I don’t talk to minorities,


Do y’all have a typewriter I can use?

I shouldn’t have to pay for overdue fees

because the sex scenes in Deadpool offended me,

why do you allow this filth in the library,

we need your time sheet if you wanna get

paid this Friday, you didn’t fill out a sick

leave slip for the seventh, the computer

won’t let me print,

copy and paste,

print a Youtube video,

that library card account with the overdue

fees isn’t for me, that’s my cousin’s

(with the same name, birthday, address…)

no, actually you can get Ebola from touching

someone’s hand, I know these things,

Let me speak to the manager you don’t

Know what you’re talking about/you’re lying

okay do you have this book instead,

can you double check if it’s really gone,

the trainee has another question…


–Never mind, y’all need to go home now.


Note: Based on a true story, all three years of working at a library in prose. 




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