Published Poetry – Filing Papers in December

Filing Papers in December

Walls creak at night, talking
to one another in the voices
of those who’ve lived here.
That same wind bends around
the same corner of the building,
howling something about night
shadows, pitch-crazy in
the back and forth light
of green streetlights swaying.
And I have no hands for it all.

My fingers ache from empty
grabs at empty places
where a voice had seemed
flesh enough to touch. Walls
just go on cracking. Even
in the corner, wrapped
in an old man’s blanket,
laying out dead years
in pages of a manuscript
blown into disorder by
the furnace wind from
the rushing duct, even
in the grey shelves where
I lay my eyes out evenly,
even in the cold-sheeted
barebed, ghosts of all
the brave days dance.

No; don’t let the brain go hot.
They’re just green shadows
from dancing streetlights
gliding through streaked windows.
Just walls creaking cold.
Just a wind, not a spirit,
answering its own not-call,
while the furnace in imitation
rushes warmth to a cold corner
where hands assemble voices.

Published in Alura Quarterly (1989)

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