No ghosts as yet, but just a hint of fever
(the fan’s still in its box) and foreign noise.
A virgin phone squats on its new receiver.
Undusty window sills are bare but ready
for clocks, for brown, anemic plants, their poise
temporary, fragile and unsteady.
There have been other places, across the river,
or oceans, time zones–other furniture,
with curtains cutting light to just a sliver,
those old apartments populated still
with women whom you recollect as “her.”
They haven’t called; you doubt they ever will.
Each lease becomes an act of… not forgetting,
but somehow letting go. Old places live
with different faces in a familiar setting:
lives you’ll never know, but comprehend,
scenes of errors not yours to forgive,
broken hearts no longer yours to mend.
Quincy R. Lehr writes: “I’m trying to remember exactly which move this poem commemorates. I moved three times in three years–Dublin 2006, Galway 2007, New York 2008. It is, from an autobiographical point of view, about feeling a bit deracinated.
But in a sense, that’s renting–you’re never the first person in a place, and you’re hardly going to be the last. You haul your shit from place to place, carrying your permanence with you, but the stuff in its person-specific configurations, like your presence in an apartment, or a city, or just in the world in general, is ephemeral.
The poem appeared in my second collection, Obscure Classics of English Progressive Rock, which was the bulk of the poems written in Ireland that were any good, as well as the first couple of years back in New York. It was first published in the Recusant in the UK.
I imagine I wrote it in the first couple of months after returning to New York, but that’s an educated guess and at least five computers ago.”
Born in Oklahoma, Quincy R. Lehr is the author of several books of poetry, and his poems and criticism appear widely in venues in North America, Europe, and Australia. His book-length poem ‘Heimat‘ was published in 2014. His most recent books are ‘The Dark Lord of the Tiki Bar‘ (2015) and ‘Near Hits and Lost Classics‘ (2021), a selection of early poems. He lives in Los Angeles.
“New Apartment” by artindeepkoma is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.