He Once Was
Updated: Sep 26, 2022
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,
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,
Cold, so cold.
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.
Written by Tamara Morozoff Chicoine