At the Information Desk

Featured photo by Ana Mucak.

An image of the interior of a building, with several rows of cabinets covered with books. There are more filled bookshelves in the background and stacks of books in the foreground.

after @notaleptic

It's facile to claim "it's complex"

when you're dead. Finality

is built in, the one way arrow

of time snapping its bowstring

for you, at least. Lost love,

forgotten fortune, reasons

to hang around, sure, it's

normal as decay. But

don't go pretending it's complex.

We live. We die. Some people

don't scatter into component

probabilities, or wait a while,

or get so mixed up with a place

they become a part of it. That

happened to me, because I thought

there were secrets to be discovered.

By the time I realized there weren't,

and even if there were, I can't

show my work, I was part of a library.

It's good, though. Folks like you

pass through here, confused,

and get information. Exactly how

a library should be, with a helpful

guide and a benign ghost for students

to spot in the stacks, and wonder

about, scare each other with.

I hear I'm getting referrals.

It's flattering. So yeah. There is

no secret. You can do as you like,

haunt your loved ones if you must,

though I warn you it isn't

actually a kindness if you do,

unless you really socked away

money in the wall, and even then

you'll mostly scare dogs and babies.

You have no guarantee of success.

You can't pick what you become part of.

People worry about their ghosts,

worry even harder when they're real.

They think they're going nuts,

their meds stopped working, or worse

they think you're stuck, trapped,

and watching them. No one likes that.

Watching over from heaven is different

than being around who knows where.

And the child ghosts are everywhere,

they'll break your heart in time.

It's not complex. You can risk your

old priorities, or see whatever people

go to when they don't stay around.

Do some people get both? Sure.

Is it going to be you? Odds against.

I'll see you, if I see you. On Wednesdays

they bring the therapy dogs at two,

be kind and don't scare them. Don't

make it complex, buddy. Just choose.


Elizabeth R. McClellan is a domestic and sexual violence attorney by day and a poet in the margins. Their work has appeared in Girls Who Love Monsters, Utopia Science Fiction, Strange Horizons, Dreams and Nightmares, Illumen Magazine, Rejection Letters and many others. They are a disabled gender/queer demisexual poet writing on unceded Quapaw and Chikashsha Yaki land. Follow them on Twitter @popelizbet or on Patreon at ermcclellan.


Ana Mucak is a student and photographer based in Zagreb, Croatia. She is currently studying for a master's degree in English Linguistics and Educational Sciences. As a deeply sentimental person, she loves documenting the world around her and has been shooting film for four years now.

IG: @anamucak