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  • Tamara Chicoine

He Once Was



He lit the candle

to send the night running

and shadows flutter on the

stray brown dog that sleeps at his feet.


His wire rim glasses rest somewhere unknown

and the words blur on the page

of the tattered book he holds with

crooked fingers, raw skin peeling

through ripped red gloves.


He reads Alexander Pushkin, Robert Frost,

Emily Dickenson.

Turning the pages with trembling hands,

a soft exhale from cracked lips

from cold and wind and sun.


Satisfied, his heart full of words,

he blows out the flame. The dog leans his

body into him and the old man

embraces him. The darkness is a black blanket

ripped with holes of neon light.


He was once more than this room

with splintered windows, tattered curtains,

peeling wallpaper.

Cold, so cold.


He remembers.

Tan oxford shoes walking, tap, tapping up

cobblestone stairs to swing open his door,

with a golden plaque in engraved letters,

Literature Teacher, Michael Micho.


The abandoned building he sleeps in

embraces his secrets.

No fault of his own, he often

sleeps under steel bridges, on dewy grass.

Books always touching his hands,

as if they were his limbs.



Original Poetry by Tamara Morozoff Chicoine


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