As Happens in a House Alone
by Russell Rowland



Clock hides its face, and telephone
is silent about that fatality
on the road home from school tonight:
whose child it was…

As happens in a house alone,
one’s heartbeat echoes off the walls.
As happens when one fears the worst,
one’s stomach regrets dinner.

Imagination is a raving carnivore,
loosed from its cage. I’m forced
to watch myself repeatedly identify
what lies beneath the sheet.

Our stipulations listed many things
I was indifferent to, yet failed to warn
of times there’d be no hand to hold.
(When did a warning ever cancel court?)

Phone rings, I pounce.
My daughter’s voice.

I do not cry, just go
upstairs, turn back the covers
of her bed—now that I know
she will be sleeping in it.





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