“There is a word for it…”

The Man Closing Up
– Donald Justice
1
Like a deserted beach,
The man closing up.
 
Broken glass on the rocks,
And seaweed coming in
To hang up on the rocks.
 
Walk with care,
It’s slippery here.
 
Old pilings, rotted, broken like teeth,
Where a pier was,
 
A mouth,
And the tide coming in.
 
The man closing up
Is like this.
 
2
He has no hunger
For anything,
The man closing up.
 
He would even try stones,
If they were offered.
 
But he has no hunger
For stones.
 
3
He would make his bed,
If he could sleep on it.
 
He would make his bed with white sheets
And disappear into the white,
 
Like a man diving,
If he could be certain
 
That the light
Would not keep him awake.
 
The light that reaches
To the bottom.
 
4
The man closing up
Tries the doors.
 
But first
He closes the windows.
 
And before that even
He had looked out the windows.
 
There was no storm coming
That he could see.
 
There was no one out walking
At that hour.
 
Still,
He closes the windows
And tries the doors.
 
He knows about storms
And about people
 
And about hours
Like that one.
 
5
There is a word for it,
A simple word,
And the word goes around.
 
It curves like a staircase,
And it goes up like a staircase,
And it is a staircase,
 
An iron staircase
On the side of a lighthouse.
All in his head.
 
And it makes no sound at all
In his head.
Unless he says it.
 
Then the keeper
Steps on the rung,
The bottom rung,
 
And the ascent begins.
Clangorous.
Rung after rung.
 
He wants to keep the light going,
If he can.
 
But the man closing up
Does not say the word.
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2 thoughts on ““There is a word for it…”

  1. Yikes! I thought I’d read all of Justice, but I don’t remember this one. He didn’t always trust his readers this much.

    On Thu, Jun 28, 2018 at 11:45 PM Edge of Atlantic wrote:

    > Bill Schulz posted: “The Man Closing Up – Donald Justice 1 Like a deserted > beach, The man closing up. Broken glass on the rocks, And seaweed coming > in To hang up on the rocks. Walk with care, It’s slippery here. Old > pilings, rotted, broken like teeth, Where a pier was,” >

    Like

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