“Renting a Room on Magazine Street” by Jim Zola

The obvious is difficult to prove
in a room with ceilings high enough
for giants to unstoop, where glass doors
introduce a garden plot of chickweed
and empty pots. Upstairs a piano
plays all day, plinking made-up melodies
like a drunk weaving patterns
in a Sunday parking lot. Sometimes
the songs are funereal, marching

the dead on bright white keys. I never
see the player, never slip past
in narrow veins of hallways. He works
nights, sleeps days on the hardwood floor
above my head. It’s the nights that take
their toll, the tireless jangle
of window fans, babies crying
as if they know their mothers moan
in the deep sleep some lover’s arms.


Jim Zola has worked in a warehouse, as a security guard, in a bookstore, as a teacher for Deaf children, as a toy designer for Fisher Price, and currently as a children’s librarian. Published in many journals through the years, his publications include a chapbook — The One Hundred Bones of Weather (Blue Pitcher Press) — and a full length poetry collection — What Glorious Possibilities (Aldrich Press). He currently lives in Greensboro, NC

Enjoy more poems at Zingara Poetry Picks

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