Jan/Feb 2008 Poetry Special Feature

Two Word Poems

by Ray Templeton

Photo by Steve Wing

Only Going Home

Sliding into that hardwired moment,
just this side of sleep,
in some hotel room's corporate cocoon

of nylon, vinyl, and veneer,
they'll catch me every time.
I'll turn over to their changing shape,

their variations: a curse most likely,
a question, a prayer; some unfamiliar
word or tone. Each makes an entrance,

then—soft soles, snapped heels,
splashes of hurry in the rain—
moves to its certain exit; straggles up

then down. A song's crescendo
blurs into distance.
The hag-ridden and the free spirits,

the lure of a somewhere else
is what draws them.
They're night-time travelers,

only going home. But first
they pass me by—laughing, singing,
crying out their questions in the street.


A Small Part to Play

Was that me? That fool of a ghost?
Took no more than an empty house
to lure me, no moving glass,
table tipping, tears or prayer.
It could have been so different,
my intrusions more like the shock
of déjà vu, or a recurring dream
—ephemeral, elusive—not a needle
stuck in some vinyl scratch. I was
wandering again, walking a bare stage,
waiting for my cue, the call to exit.


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