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Paul Meier reading


by Alan Harris
Nothing but a precise
second hand is moving within
the solitary stillness of this house.
I convalesce and convalesce while
reading the daily wallpaper.

Knickknacks cling tightly
to their positions, dumbly
flaunting their faded novelty
close to books of past power
that slump on their shelves
like half-fallen dominoes.

Fatigued by the familiar and
glued down by gravity,
I lie back, later sit up,
then move about,
then sit again,
a restless captive of
fever and furnishings.

Every other person
in the world just now is
elsewhere and occupied.
Have I secretly died?
"Snap," replies the
house, settling.

I lie back down close to my
accurate quartz-driven clock
whose second hand counts out
sixty clockwise clicks and
on and on until
the wallpaper blurs
and nothing occurs.

From the book Writing All Over the World's Wall (1995)

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