Mark Halliday


The Halls

Five more books in a box to be carried out to the car;
your office door closes behind you and at that moment
you turn invisible — not even a ghost in that hall
from the hall’ s point of view.
If the halls don’ t know you, the halls and the rooms
of the buildings where you worked for seven years —
if the halls don’ t know you,
and they don’ t —
some new woman or two new men come clattering

The Students

The students eat something and then watch the news,
a little, then go to sleep. When morning breaks in
they find they have not forgotten all: they recall
the speckle of words on certain pages of
the chapter assigned, a phrase of strange weight
from a chapter that was not assigned, and something
said almost flippantly by a classmate on the Green
which put much of the 18th century into perspective.
Noticing themselves at the sink they are aware
the hands they wash are the "same" hands

Time in a Brown House

Sam paused on the stairs. He had forgotten a thing.
In Leland’ s room a copy of Thomas Merton lay on the floor.
The air was full of gnats of possibility. What was the story?
Sam looked at the clock twice. The day was dropping
softly away while Sam’ s sneakers made the wood stairs creak.
The wood was sure it was wood. Alice got home from the store.
The bags had to be unloaded as the day went and went.
Then the sundown kitchen grew quiet.
Sam crossed his legs one way, then the other way. He had chosen