He steps into the elevator,

wool cap shuttering his eyes.

The chill stays behind

the sealed doors.


We live in concrete flats but

for the moment we float like glass.

His coat is camel hair. His hand

does not touch the emergency red.


His hand does not shake

or flutter from his pocket.

The elevator stretches

and I want to take this man

and tell him I know what he has done and I

have done it too. We are brothers of copper breath.

If I could only see his eyes, his freckled hands,

measure the width of his feet or stroke his starched lapel


which stays stiff, buttoned

as the doors pull apart.


First published in Northwords Now, 2010.