The Watchman

Hannah Archos


The mantels are riddled with rosy-cheeked Santas
Above the friendly fireplace.
Grandfather kindles the ephemeral warmth
Until sun dwindles over the barren creek and
Taciturn deer flee hunted fear by the feeder near the cross.

An armchair hugs him, in deepest repose
His eyes creased like an ancient map
Sagacious and weathered,
Temperate and wise.
He embraces his god, and in his
Grandchildren, lives on.
Sweetest ancestor,
This peace he has built.

The bird clock sings hourly (but not eternally) to the cackling raccoons
And jubilant grandchildren on refrigerator magnets and portraits.
They laugh in still frame by the toy soldiers and labyrinth of rusted books
While Snow globes and nutcrackers, fill crannies and nooks.
They cherished these knickknacks like a whimsical world, lively and full
Never alone.

Grandma hustled in the kitchen,
Snicker doodle-savvy,
Brewing pumpkin spice coffee
Pontificating about snow or
Garden gnomes
(her gardenia's not yet in bloom).

The humbling montage was the wooden walls
Outlining generations.
Seeing this, I know
Their septuagenarian souls will
ascend like the north star and sparkle
Fervent in sapphire tones...

I know you will guard me.
I know you'll inspire.
Each place I look is a reminder.
Not once have I held a doubt but when you leave
And your world is stripped clean, I will see that
lighthouse wallpaper you loved and smile but squint at
Its perilous sea and desolate waves,
Wondering of the watchman above the surveyor light is doing okay.

Euphemism Campus Box 4240 Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-4240