A SECRET PLACE
By: Patrick M. Kennedy
somewhere there is a room with the windows always open,
a gameroom, deserted,
a missing puzzle piece with part of the sky
and a little face.
down in the cellar of the city,
or near the waterfront,
screened by steel eyes and sharp tongues.
down where the surf rushes the shore like waves of people,
at the end of a wooden path,
through a cape of shadows.
imagine where nothing is as it first seems.
down through the floor into space.
i close my eyes and enter,
the door opens twice,
cobwebs soften all the edges with a dusty haze,
the walls are a crowded collage
and idle wheels wait.
the chips lie with their faces in stale gin.
all the old games are there.
once i wasn't alone. he wasn't very clear,
but somewhere the eyes of a man are always open.
our backs were gameboards and we played one another.
he tapped my mind with loaded dice
and two-headed coins,
while i relied on a crooked wheel
to raise his imagination.
we played to a tie and played again.
a pistol apiece with a single shell,
we spun the chambers,
shot each other,
and laughed away the dread
as he disappeared into a mirror.
at times the cross-draft brings a chill,
an outside voice with the same tired plea,
"let me in, i want to see,"
but the windows are always open
at my secret place,
even though images sometimes lie or change,
or like a mirage,
disappear when i arrive.