Leveler Poetry Journal
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Walking Down This Hall


I wish you would give me one good reason for walking down this hall.

Like there’re fish at the end of it and they want to know what your name is.

Or there’s a balloon just before you get to the end of it.

And it wants to know if you brought a pin.


Of course, I could go on like this, if I wanted to, listing these reasons.

And it would be a rather simple thing to do for the most part.


But I’m starting to get a cramp in my leg.

And mother always said, “Don’t blame me if you get a cramp in your leg.

Blame the people who brought you.”


And I’ve always thought that that’s a cogent bit of advice,

even if I never really went out of my way to advertise it

in places where it might have done some lasting good.


Because I like to think that everything I do in my life has some lasting good to it.

Like walking down this hall.

And asking you if you have any idea at all what will become of it

once they reclaim the house that it’s in.

And the banner we placed near its door.




Lee Stern