Monday, March 26, 2018

Quarter-Life Poem: The Winter Hermit

The Winter Hermit

In the attic, she keeps jars of broken sea shells
in the attic, she keeps musty books and torn photographs
and shadows along the wall of broken furniture.
In the attic, she keeps ghosts
in the pockets of old blouses.

Everything inside the attic
is either heavy with mildew
or light with decay.

She presses her face against a blouse
that her mother once wore.
It smells like cinnamon and peach blossoms

(She sees her mother
in pale yellow
arranging flowers in a vase.
Her mother in the same blouse
reading at the seashore.)

From the breast pocket
a sleepy and wrinkled ghost appears.
The ghost lightly brushes it's wispy form
against her cheek.

In the attic,
she peers from a broken window
and sees the snow begin to fall.

Winter turns her house into a cabin
the other houses disappear
under mounds of glistening snow.
On the top of their roofs
grow groves of crisp pine trees.

Downstairs, she drinks cup after cup of tea
the steam from the teacup swirls toward the ceiling.
All the windows are coated with
molecules of warm condensation
from the foggy windows she watches the foxes
scamper through the woods.
Sleek and orange, they leap through shimmering white.

The last day of December
she opens her doors and windows
to give anyone the chance
to join her in the warmth of indoors.
But the spiders are the only ones that enter.
Once within, they build their own homes.
Messy globs of silver strings in the dark corners
geometric shapes stretching across the windows
the spiders walk across the floors and ceilings
disappearing into the cracks or corners
as the she paces from room to room.

Months go by and she is tired of the silence
she goes back to her attic.
On a stool she plays her guitar
she sings songs about the mountains
and songs about the sea.
And when she pauses to take a breath-
to let her fingers rest
she reaches toward the window
as the first streams of sunlight
slowly lick away the snow. 

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