And then, just like any other grand gesture,
it bounced off of pre-war woodwork,
off of chandeliers so high,
even the cobwebs seemed to be made of fluted gold,

off of gleaming teeth
and landed with a dull thud,
a near-silent reminder
that theatrics are only needed
in place of the real thing,
that if you’re hanging so many lights,
it’s probably because you’re scared of your own shadow,
or the way you really are in the dark,

just a quivering mess,
a pile of letters so desperate,
even the mailman leaves you on read,
and meanders on to the next home. 

Timothy Tarkelly

Timothy Tarkelly's work has been featured by Philosophical Idiot, Back Patio Press, Cauldron Anthology, From the Depths, GNU, Sludge Lit, and others. His book, Gently in Manner, Strongly in Deed: Poems on Eisenhower was published by Spartan Press in April, 2019. When he's not writing, he teaches in Southeast Kansas. 

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