Elevators: A Pantoum(ish)

by C. S. E. Cooney

in my dreams, the elevators have no doors 
they're merry-go-rounds, roller coasters
too many buttons, none of them work
they move like trains through cities
we're roller coasters, merry-go-rounds
we cross the street when we see each other
half-empty trains moving through cities 
it's no longer polite to hold the elevator door
we cross the street when we see each other
like in dreams, our pacing's off
touch nothing, rush to close the elevator door
cover your masked mouth to cough
our pacing's off, like in dreams  
time feels like flying, or quicksand, or static
cover your masked mouth to cough
murmuring not "Excuse me," but "Not Covid!"
time feels static, or like quicksand, or falling
boundary-less, kaleidoscopic free-range
no excuses--but the ubiquitous corvid 
perched on my fire escape, inked like a headline
"boundary-less, kaleidoscopic free-range"
is how I dress these days, pajamas and ball gowns
nail polish chipped like my fire escape, ink for eyeliner
a door closes between me and the household voices
"I love your ball gown!" shouts the stranger in pajamas
we wait for the elevator, she with laundry, me with groceries
one goes first, one waits; a door closes between us
in my dreams, the elevators have no doors

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Elevators: A Pantoum(ish)

  1. I love pantoums even more than sestinas, and this one is beautiful and makes me feel SO MUCH

    • csecooney

      You are, like, THE MOST SUPPORTIVE PERSON EVER!!! And Carlos and I LOVED LOVED LOVED your letter. He looked at those chicken cards, and gave a little laugh/sigh, and said, “My mama loved chickens.”

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