Today's poem is by Paul Hostovsky

Dusk Outside the Braille Press

The lights go on in all the windows but one.
It's the one in the northeast comer
of the narrow three-story building
at 88 St. Stephen Street
where the proofreading department misses another
sunset. Some of the white canes lean against the wall
like backslashes in the unpunctuated dark,
and some lie folded underneath the chairs
like bundles of long chalk, a red one in each,
and the fingers are passing over the dots like wind
over buildings, and the braille dictionary in seventy-two volumes
is stacked practically to the ceiling
like a cord of wood. It steams
in the darker darkness of a corner
and a book louse is journeying imperceptibly
through the D's.

A proofreader stops reading, opens
her watch and closes it click, reaches under her chair for her cane
and opens it chick-a-chick
into a white line which she sweeps
across an invisible line which she walks
straight to the hulking dictionary
to look up a word which needs hyphenating.

Braille is dots in a cell, lots and lots
of cells. Each cell is a three-story building
at dusk, the lights on in certain windows
and not others. Each book is a city
where the blind look in through the windows
with their fingers pressed to the panes.

Outside it's beginning to snow
and each snowflake is a different
character in the Complete Works of Beauty
which contains only one mistake
that the proofreading department can find,
and the faces pressed to the windows are saying
beautiful. And the fingers checking the time are saying
time. And the white canes are opening in a chorus
          of switchblades
and beginning to cut their separate paths home.

Copyright © 2007 Paul Hostovsky All rights reserved
from Dusk Outside the Braille Press
Riverstone, A Press for Poetry
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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