I Sweep the Steps on Monday

David O’Meara


The future is needy.

All that hope.

Last week
it desperately wanted what this week’s
only background,

patchy developments yet to come.
Carry me around, I said

fetal in the duvet.

Outside, I pause below
clouds playing shadow-puppets on radar,
the air dark with radiance
like the nave in Sainte-Chapelle.


A short climb to domestic views.
The sky jams the tree in its scrapbook.
One branch, like a witch’s finger,
scrapes the metal siding,

knotted knuckle keening in wind.
I push tumbled twigs about,
the hibernated slurry,
leaves, dust
and litter’s dregs, disassembled

of something whole we used
up and threw away.

New stalks breach rolls of soil
like a burst couch.


My porch. My staff and straw.
My six treads down.
My peninsula amid compost bins,
sidewalk, chrysanthemum and linden, this
provisional mount to my works
and days, each plan
a false trail
where I play a poor man’s Hesiod

left to wait
in this shoe-gazer’s almanac
remade by the age
of Big Oil and plastic.


Panic seems to live in my ear,
plus the radio

and a revving at the stop-signs.

I shift the piles, spray the lids,
curse drudgery,

but out here, free at least
from click-bait.
A squirrel’s eye
radars over movement’s
could-be predators, if only to outlive
the imminent, heavy rain.

The past, with its exhausted magic,
needs us too.

All façade, the gutters drip
and a Google search shows nothing.

I step toward the porch
and hold the storm between shattered
blades of light.
A predicted front
will pass this way, still completely startle,

and this day will have me for its dinner, or let me go.