by Lars Arvis


I’ve been craning my neck so I can peer

at a house hidden beside an alley


to reaffirming my own collections of time.

Those two months loom far behind me


yet still not far enough to settle my eyes against

that house on North Delaware. December and


January make a much better pairing than we did.

My new building (not haunted by you)


rests at the bottom of icy river bluffs

on the edge of miles and miles of trees.


These late-winter evenings I creep onto

the balcony, iron railing cradling my back


as I lean. I left the front door cracked,

I make sure the windows are lifted from


their sills so I can continue inhaling burned nag champa.

When the coyotes welcome the night by howling


at murky rolling clouds I will ask the forest why

you did what you did. I can interpret whatever happens


next as my long-searched-for answer. I know it doesn’t

work this way. These are not poetic statements.


As these embers of the past float through

biting nocturnal breeze, I’m reassured nature


doesn’t blame its shortcomings on the Zodiac.

It will never throw books, slam doors upon its parting.


I was backed into your corner when I

swung the escape-door wide.


It shouldn’t have taken so long to exit your life;

but, my god, you wouldn’t let me leave.