the lift of sunlight on bricks across the alley
tugs up blankets along tenement walls:
gray shrouds billow over to protect them
from criminals, fog, dust, the rays of the moon.
the line by line advance takes forever,
happens every night.
the ancient maid that steals across the house
magically turning down sheets
despite frequent breathers, occasional naps,
the odd sip of sherry:
she has been alive a long time.
we may expect this trick of expertise
from one so wise:
the illusion of infirmity glossing over
a streamlined getting-done of things.
the timebowed woman keeping time
turning us in and out of light and season,
seems to laze about, to heckle,
to tease, sometimes to snore,
while running all the while
an unfailingly tight ship.
perhaps thinking of the world in this way
will allow the guests a little liberty
to fixate on the lines of mortar
a little less,
stop counting bricks.


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