I've seen them, these haunted storefronts
from Rejkvik to Salida, Colorado
dusty and empty, or sometimes
hung with a lace curtain and a NO TRESPASSING sign,
not even the flicker of a cat
although once a collection of miniature hot air balloons
fashioned out of used light bulbs
dangled on fishline.
The glass panes are smeared
and the vacancy
seems waiting for an installation
as if snow
might fall from the ceiling.
It is not really possible to housekeep this world
like that time in the apartment on the lake
when we cleaned and cleaned some kind of fine black dust
from everything, corners, sheets
bad-mouthing the previous occupants:
Artists! And from New York! That explains it!
until we realized
this was volcanic,
that, blowing still, closed airports all over Europe
and floated like the dust
of moth wings over our balcony in the white night.
Miriam Sagan is the author of twenty-five books, including Map of the Post (University of New Mexico Press). She founded and directs the creative writing program at Santa Fe Community College. Her blog is Miriam's Well. In 2010, she won the Santa Fe Mayor's award for Excellence in the Arts. contact