Go On Reading

by Matthew Mehan

When the window’s been closed to the ice cold air

And the room fills with warmth as blood thaws a finger,

There’s a truce that’s struck between warm and chill,

When one waits for a shiver and the air holds still;

All the candles cease to sputter and flare,

For their flames grow long with the calm which lingers,

While the room, like a womb, seems pregnant and filled

With someone unseen: human, angel or devil.

At this wavering, deeds come welling in anger,

With loving tears, gouts of sorrow and care,

And fear of contrition when nobody’s there.

Then at once, flames’ flickering falls to languor;

And the warmth from the hall fills the room to the sill,

While one goes on reading by the panes pressed with chill.

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