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A Contract


Their love ran out in March; their lease, in June.

He moved where cash allowed, took the room strewn

With near-junk unseen since their wedding day.

Home, then, was like a drawer where one might lock

Loose pieces of a fallen antique clock.

She lived in bed, ate oatmeal from a tray,

Read comics like a child bored with a cold.

He searched the bars for something nice to hold.


Then, drunk, he'd close his eyes and trace the day,

The day's soft flicker, down to a shrinking dot,

As though a ship were burning, far away.

She saw his razor on the sink, the cot

Folded, the room he slept in not at all,

Where once she'd wrapped him, waiting, in a shawl

And, warmed at last, he could pretend to wake.

He waited now, unseen, for no one's sake.


Joshua Mehigan