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Joseph Hardy

Staying Up Late


Who would have thought an old man’s life 

could leave so many unread pages


be a mystery in the last chapters 

with too many possible suspects 


blind corners, wild gambits 

and unexpected character development.


I’ve come to love the people in mine—

their peculiar hopes and dreams


still taking shape.

I don’t want the book to end. 


And I’d like to know, really,

what kind of mind 


could write something 

that could stop 


with so many loose ends hanging, 

each a jewel? 


We Sell Those Ugly Houses

the billboards say they’ll buy

     the ones we once lived in 

among garbage bags of unwashed clothes 

and dust-bunnies, wispy clouds 

becoming soft shadows 

beneath our beds, our unnamed dreams 

left in tired wallows.


We walked around the piles 

dropping what was in our hands 

half an eaten sandwich, 

the unread mail, and closed the doors 

when piles combined 

to suffocate a room.  

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