I like to walk through the apartment
at night to be sure nothing
has moved, to be sure I still belong. I quiz myself
on the layout of furniture darker than air
with my hands above my head
so I can’t cheat. I know
where the lamp sits, just out of reach.
It was a glass of water I was after
or just darkness or to check the faucet
was still dripping into rusty Rorschach portraits
like the first cave drawings made by accident
when they pressed their sooty faces
against the cool cave wall.
The man across the hallway steps out
around midnight, he pretends
to hold a cigarette in his teeth, to light up and love
every breath. When the leaves are crunching like tonight,
I know he’s outside puffing on air. His fingers rest
lightly on his lips, he flicks nothing into the street.
Sometimes I follow him out,
ask for a light and we stand together
on the sidewalk, pretending to risk it all.