Joseph Sherman

Her Waiting Room

I am late with this.
The moment
there was a question
there was meant to be
a response,
a mélange of words
adding up to something like
their singular worth. This is
the price tag of panic,
the lyric spine of fear—

I know yours, the betrayal
you feel knotting within you,
the mystery with no measure
of charm.

But what of me?
I must consider. And keep watch.
Nothing will comfort
but your own release.

This is when
every gesture counts, more
than any order of words, when
whatever I might do for you
must come as one breath,
then the next,
and the next.

From the moment
the match was struck,
I did nothing but place
one foot before the other
until a destination loomed.

I was supposed to know
that other language, to learn
what I do not know,
what now fails to arm me,
and my voice was to spill out
in that wordless song, some
renegade priest’s perfect prayer—

my body, with yours,
end one waltz and cue another.

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