A hospital nurse died alone in this house
a century ago.
She smoked cigarettes on the staircase,
stained carpet with ash.

I assume she misses admiring amber
streetlights out the windows,
the gatherings of gnats around glass bulbs,
the miniscule buzzing: a prayer on the verge of epiphany.

All night I wonder
if I’m gentle enough to the fallen leaves I’ve stepped on.
I scratch at scabs on my knees and knuckles,
not healing.

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