Sitting on the bed’s edge and fumbling
with listless sympathies, I pause
and notice the L-shaped room:
the air ducts hum like wizened birds;
a pollen scent dulled with germicide;
walls a walking-on-eggshells white;
calcite colored, suspended ceiling tiles
pitted and crazed with ash grey lines.
A palm stretched slow across the sheets
abrades the crevasse-blue waterproof mattress;
a sound like tunneling glacial rivulets
that never will shape clasts, carve lakes.
Joseph Tate’s poems have appeared in E·ratio, Yemassee, The Oregonian and other publications. He edited the Music and Art of Radiohead and has published and lectured on Shakespeare and prosody.