Avoiding the nails that want to make
my head a holy sieve, I crawl
from joist to joist, aloft on the wisdom
my wife shouts up that with a slip
of either knee my legs will serve
as hanging monuments to frugality.

Under the rooftree, where the house's fingers
touch in earnest thought, I sniff
for the trapped bouquets of bread
and coffee, for wild evaporations
from bathroom and soap. I take a count
of creak and shift, day-shout and night-breath,
wasps and their tiny chain-saws.

Sad, arthritic monk,
I dawdle in prayerful attitude
above the furthest corner of the living room
and ponder upon the fragile ceiling-sky
this paradox of feeling darkly safe
which hovers above our daily lives
and suffers our light conspiracies.

I crouch and cogitate, practice my father's
old, familiar prayers that comfort me.
Ghoulishly, at last, my wife's head
pops up in a shaft of light, bobs
outlandishly on waves of fiberglass:
"Where in the hell are you?" she demands.

I'd mingled with the household ghosts
and nearly got way.

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