Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Monday, November 17, 2008

What He Knows

What I Know

Squirrels scratch the roof tonight.
I didn't know they could be nocturnal.
My wife's asleep. I know she's weary.
I've survived life thus far. I know I'm
a remnant. Now the furnace, an old
smoker in the basement, wakes
and coughs, exhales through creaking
ducts. I know I need to change the filter.

I hear a car careening down the alley.
It crunches a trash-can, keeps going.
I know the driver gunning the engine is
drunk, will pull out onto an avenue. I don't
know if I'll hear a siren soon. I expect to.

Near me a gray cat groans in sleep.
I don't know what cats see when they
dream. God, if you're there, good for you.
Good for me, too. The rent is due in ten
days, and I can't afford to get sick.
That's what I know.


Copyright 2008 Hans Ostrom
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