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   a    w i n e g l a s s    f u l l    o f    n a i l s

--- D A V I D   G R A H A M

All night he scuffles bedroom to bathroom to pantry,
searches the faces on the refrigerator,
pill schedules and emergency numbers.
Shuffles on big careful feet to the sink,
where a notepad gives him his daughter's name,
who is here for a visit.  Midnight.  He shakes
the door locks.  Grabs a cookie, perhaps.
One o'clock.  Swivels the thermostat to ninety.
One-thirty.  Adds a log to the wood stove.
Runs water, then leaves it going while he looks
in the den for a glass.  Two a.m.  Three.

Each night some minor surrealism: Sofa cushions jammed in the closet, maybe, or jumper cables in the tub soaking. On top of the TV, like dried flowers, a wineglass full of nails. Whatever he seeks isn't here anymore, yet he paces like a prisoner, still aimed and active.

These nightly wanderings must be all inkling, all shadow and itch. Every morning he announces it's time to head home. Now, though, he just unplugs a couple lamps. Shelves a book backwards. Scuffs to the door to check the locks again.

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