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Coming or Going

Exile in my own home, I walk through
A lattice of shadows in the hushed rooms.
No one speaks, but in that emptiness I sometimes hear
The sticky vernacular of the real.

The scents that used to wisp around me when she passed,
After a bath or before an evening out, are stoppered now,
Butterflies gone back to their spent cocoons.

Nothing relents: I deal with damages
In the downspouts, the drainpipes, the kitchen sink.
One more hard storm and they'll be drilling
Weepholes in the basement walls.

I've had so many years
To perfect failure, by alibis or neglectó
As now, opening the refrigerator, I find
Blue milk, black fruit, and something in that jar
Strange enough to make a monkey jump.

So much undone, or never done, or holding for a moment only,
Like water braiding itself in a schooner's wake. But why complain?
This is my house. This is my cold hand on the doorknob.

Elton Glaser

The Georgia Review

Fall 2013

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