“As We Were Saying Goodnight” by Henry Crawford

Henry Crawford


someone noticed a television left on
in one of the rooms so a couple of guys
headed upstairs and it was reassuring
to know it was under control but noises
kept coming down the hallways and the
floors began groaning with the feet of
searching people turning on lights
and looking into rooms and sometimes
shouting “I’ve got it!” which some people
believed while others stayed more skeptical
patting the walls and opening doors
like the young woman who discovered
a bathtub she couldn’t stop overflowing
or the lawyer who came upon a stove
with lit burners and an oven leaking gas
and they twisted the knobs right and left
to no effect as the air got thicker with the
smell of distant smoke even as we climbed
to higher flights where we stumbled upon
a floor of mousetraps so dense you couldn’t
breathe without setting them off so we stood
frozen together and I bid goodnight to Jim
and Martha Winkler who were lost in thought
as they considered the situation under the
remorseful gaze of a wall-mounted moose
as one by one the lights went dark and the glint
dimmed in the glass eye of a stuffed monkey
as the moon escaped the only window.

from Poets Respond
October 31, 2021


Henry Crawford: “This weekend being the opening of the Glasgow Climate Change Conference as well as Halloween, I wrote a poem about the chaos surrounding climate change using the metaphor of a haunted house.” (web)

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