Or Current Occupant

by Jack Mierswa

Everyone in this building is grieving

except for me.

It’s coming in through the ductwork.
It’s leaking in through the pipes.

It steals in, delicate, slinking around our ankles at dinnertime,
leaving scant evidence:

The bicycle still locked to the dumpster.
A phone that rings and rings and rings and rings.
The lonely flicker of TV under a door.
An untouched saucer of milk.

The foundations tremble, the furnace heaves,
another exhalation sobs ups the walls.

Dreads sits on my chest, cups me in her palms, breathes cold spores
into my dreams. An inconsolable promise.

I wake unscathed, frozen to my bed. The hall clock is watching.
I call my father twice in one week.

I carry my umbrella every day.
I have so much to lose.

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Jack Mierzwa grew up in Buffalo and went to school in Cleveland. He loves comic books and outer space. There’s no point in trying to shame him out of any of it, he’ll just keep going on and on and on about it.