mercenaries

These words are mercenaries.
They slouch outside the back door of this poem,
clouds of frosty air billowing around their heads,
belts and boots glinting in the flood lamp.

When it is time, these words slip inside,
carrying a box or a knife or an envelope.
The hallway is dim. The recipient waits.
A noise, half-sigh, half-groan, escapes.

Perhaps nothing happened. The front door swings open;
these words stumble out, playing drunk.
They cross the street and their posture straightens.
As the moon lifts, they head for the next poem.

— Halsted M. Bernard

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