Monday, January 23, 2017

Twelve Forty-Two and a Half Cherry Street

Even now I see him there
curled in a shadow beneath dusty
sunbeams. The blinds tilt half open.
He holds himself in his own arms,
brings up his knees, rocks ever
so slowly. Maybe hiding gets
easier. Yes. The sun lowers, dims.
The deep grain of the living room's
thin panels grows. Eventually all
he can see is his own child's face,
barely even formed but able to ask
what the days are like for the living.
The child asks from the darkness
within this address, behind numbers
of gold and black that stick
to the door. The child rocks behind
the porch light. Frantic
moths tick against the glass.
Did I say "child"? There's only
an address with a man
who imagines a child in it
looking over his shoulder
to a partial moon that curls.
He no longer knows if it was
his child who died or if
it was the moon, just the moon
that casts light without sound.

Tonight I look back at him,
I see the man paying his rent
and closing the blinds.
The moon sets. I see his future.
I feel no pity even though
one night the moon doesn't rise,
and he no longer has an address,
only a street where turns
the shadows over with his shoes.
I don't give him one splinter
of pity. The moon began again,
just a fraction. HIs next address
was a whole number where he kept
curtains open to the noon. But that's
not why I don't pit him. That's just
how the numbers fell, the hardness
 of what happened. I remember how
even back then, every day
I checked the mailbox, hoping.

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