The opening lines betray any expectation of the reader that the title is only to be taken figuratively. The narrator presents a portrait of himself as overcome with joy as ink stains the corners of his mouth. He has quite literally been eating poetry.
When the librarian approaches the narrator, it’s clear she is far less exultant. Her appearance suggests a far more complicated commingling of emotions. The narrator interprets sadness in her eyes, but the suggestion is that the rest of her expression is one expressing disbelief while the way she strides toward him with her hands in the pockets of her dress indicates at least a little trepidation stimulated perhaps by an unconscious need to protect himself.
What she will find when she draws nearer is that he has been consuming pages of poetry. That poetry is gone now as he hints that he has been eating poetry for some time with the casual mention that the lights have grown dim. Then comes offering of information that seems to have absolutely nothing to do with anything he’s mentioned so far: dogs are making their way up the basement stairs.
When he can finally see them, the situation somehow manages to become even more macabre than it was already was. The eyes of the dogs are rolling back into their heads and their legs are described as blonde and burning like a wildfire. Adding to the bizarre atmosphere permeating the library already is the sudden emotional spin taken by the library who starts stamping her feet and sobbing at the appearance of the dogs.
The narrator’s response to what he appears to take merely as evidence that the librarian doesn’t understanding what’s happening transforms the library from a scene of the bizarre to the site of the surreal. Almost as if becoming one of the dogs himself, he falls to his knees and licks her hand. She screams.
After asserting that he is a new man, he proceeds to snarl and bark a dog before joyously cavorting in the dark like a happy puppy playing in a brand new yard.