Down the Hall
On a lighter planet I'd be light on my feet
or whatever those are; here,
the muscles make no sense except as meat
of an unwieldy species that should, no doubt,
be protected, but otherwise kept far
from you. The claws and fangs, unnerving
in themselves, seem scarcely adequate
to the form; and although I approach
only slowly you flee. Unless you hear
my voice. Which squeaks when it tries
to sound firm; is mostly a murmur, as if,
though the beast weeps blood, its blood
is tears. Then you just want to avoid me.
That's half the time. The rest of the week,
though the schedule isn't strict, you see
a stain in the hall, and think There goes
the roof again, or Someone brought
their scooter or their bike inside
to oil it; and watch disgustedly
the ooze invest the carpet. You should move.
You can't. Meanwhile the voice
booms magisterially, provides
unfathomable information, rattles
the walls of the flat, which rattle anyway
in any wind, and is easy to shut out
compared to music from the other floors.
Fred Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, The Adventure and Happiness, both published by Story Line Press; the former to be reissued by Red Hen Press. His other collections include A Poverty of Words (2015) from Prolific Press and Landscape With Mutant (2018) from Smokestack Books (UK). His poems have appeared in many magazines, including Review, Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, The Fish Anthology (Ireland), Magma (UK), Iota (UK), Orbis (UK), Neon (UK), Bateau, Main Street Rag, Manhattan Review and Prick of the Spindle.