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Sligo Bookstore
by Amanda Hayden

aqua blue doorframes sew borders

around the tiny book market closet,

creaky stairs, book nook diorama

complete with ginger sleeved vinyl

dusty cobweb shelves, small towers

of adventures winding to my shoulders,

paper air, paper nostrils, paper lungs

and a smiling, skinny store owner

who piles one thin sliced poetry book

on top of another in my upturned hands,

mound of mattress pages filled with peas

like magpie, meadowsweet,

*drumlin, trawl, windbitten,

*boondock, buttonhole, *sliotan

paper words beanstalk stacked

and I close my eyes

until I am a tower too

until I am ink and wood’s dust

swirling up squeaking stairs

a cobweb curiosity

settling in Sligo sunlight





*drumlin – small hills

*boondock – remote, isolated area

*sliotan – hurling ball

Amanda Hayden is a Poet Laureate and award-winning Humanities Professor. Over forty of her poems have been featured in journals and anthologies. Her debut collection, American Saunter, is forthcoming (FlowerSong Press, 2024) with her second collection, Old World Wings following (Wild Ink Publishing, 2025). She recently won the 2023 River Heron Editor's Choice Poetry Prize for her poem "The Faery Bridges." She lives with her family and many furry rescue babies, including their very special blind three-legged pup named Vinny Valentine.

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