Anna Jackson

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The photographer's hallway

The photographer likes to keep
her apartment uncluttered
so hangs every picture she ever buys
in the hallway and hosting a party
finds she can only relax
when her last guest has left
the apartment empty again. Standing
in the hall with her last guest
she finds she actually wants
to talk — ‘we might call
the hallway a hail-way’ — detaining
her guest by using the pictures
as ‘conversation pieces’.
She keeps her there
for half an hour and still
it seems her guest leaves in
a hurry deterred perhaps by her
come-hither eyes, though once home
the guest dreams not of her come-hither
eyes but the ‘with’ withheld
a hallway out of reach,
the recurring melting
of a chronic glacier.
Meanwhile the photographer remains
awake, unable to sleep not only
while there are dishes to wash
and put away, cushions to return
to their places, but while
there are still pictures
in the hallway — suddenly
she finds the hall too much
of a receptacle, determines
to stack everything
that was on display away
in rows on the floor
of her cavernous wardrobe.

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