Friday the 13th [from “The Week,” a series of 7 poems leading up to Friday the 13th]

Friday the 13th

When I woke before dawn she was kneeling by the bed
Pale face so close to mine I could sense

The dark strands of her hair framing features
I couldn’t see clearly, only a glowing visage,

Undeclared intentions. Behind her, faces rose
Like in a vast auditorium. Two empty chairs

Just beyond her shoulder. She faded into things
Across the room, bin of clothes on cedar chest.

I got dressed and wondered who else was missing.

At half past six the grocer in the dimly lit produce
Section told me to “have a good night.” He was

Looking ahead, maybe, already beyond breakfast
Or trying to hold the night in place with a pyramid

Of bananas. I got the last raspberries and left.
One day won’t be my lucky day. I picked the paper

From the yard and threw it toward the porch.
It landed in a bush and I almost left it there.

The news can’t be as bad as if I weren’t around
To read it. Still, I’m frightened by that second empty seat.

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