Dust by Tobias Maxwell

The dust on my shelves reflects a life of its own,

A flecked veneer whose pallor suggests time.

Where did it go, it seems to say,

How was it, the journey to get us here?

Was the faltering anyone’s to blame?


I had you pegged for more than this,

The cluttered messiness implies—

More than simple quiet in a half-dozen rooms to call one’s own.

Full of contemplation, long past rude awakenings.


The dust settled when, a sharp inquisitor might ask.

Or, more to the point, the whys, the when, but not the where.

Where is known. It shows in all the picture frames,

The photos of you, the us that was. Not to the

Degree of Miss Havisham’s grief, nor her shame.


Rather, the simple detours for which life abounds,

That take us nowhere, dead ends in the end.

So the telling becomes crucial lessons

For whom the bell does toll. 

Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

About the Poet:

Tobias Maxwell is the author of three novels, The Month After SeptemberThomas, and The Sex and Dope Show Saga; a novella, And Baby Makes Two; three memoirs, 1973—Early Applause, 1977—The Year of Leaving Monsieur, and 1983—The Unknown Season; as well as a poetry collection, Homogium

You can find more by visiting his website and blog at: tobiasmaxwell.com

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