Made of Paper

“Words are impoverishments, splendid poverties.”
—Charles Simic (from “Reading Philosophy at Night,” The Life of Images)

Melancholy settles in.
All room surfaces
get ghosted
back to silence.

Then she realizes
she gets to keep the poems
she writes. Their letters
won’t vaporize so quickly.

Discovers an exit
where she enters
a tall stone-clad tower.
She climbs its angled, wide stairs.

Reads names of towns
on the walls
as she gets higher
and higher. To the top. (baby)

Kind of like a lighthouse
shoved inland,
saving nothing,
where a dollhouse waits

below to be touched.
A jarring memory
of a napkin
from 45 years ago:

As she folds it
into a triangle
in that breakfast nook
in Indiana,

she tells herself
never forget

this moment.
Her father fries eggs, butters toast.
Bald, gray rectangles outside
expose a dry cold.

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