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Joseph Farley

The old apartment

Driving by the old apartment
I look up at the lights in the window,
And wonder who is fucking who
In that small room.
When it was our home,
The sheets always smelled of sex.
The wall, the floor, tables, chairs,
All served as well as a bed.
Taking a shower or doing the dishes
Presented many opportunities
And challenges to our youthful heat.
When the landlord told us to leave
We did, packed books and bags and bed,
And set off for the barren north
Where all the heat we generated in the past
Began to fade.
We slowly became ice sculptures,
Occupying different rooms,
On exhibit with gold rings on fingers
When family came by,
Easily slipping off when they left.
We began to melt away.
The water of our lives flowing off
In different directions,
Joining different streams,
Incapable of being one again
Even in the vastness of the ocean.
That old apartment, is it really there?
Are those bricks? Is that glass?
Or was it all some illicit high,
An opium dream paid for with our lives?


Joseph Farley is a poet who edited Axe Factory for 24 years, and his books and chapbooks include Suckers, For the Birds, Longing for the Mother Tongue, and Waltz of the Meatballs.