I come back to this machinery,
this dark cologned compartment,
I come back to wool sport jacket
rickety door and silver watch.
I put out my hand
into the breath you keep taking back
stubborn with your eyes
shut like caves no one knows are there.
The corridor you’d pass me in,
the corridor where you were tired.
Comes back the wall-to-wall carpeting
that took our steps, absorbed our weight,
made us all beige in that house,
lulled possibility into drywall;
the joists between floors noticed
something pressing down.
The timber I come back to
from 1910, a derailed past,
where rain gets in sometimes,
turns its entrance yellow, turns
our eyes to it; we try everything
to keep it out.
Arto Vaun is a poet and musician from Boston who spent time in Beirut teaching creative writing workshops. His first book, Capillarity, was published in 2009 by Carcanet Press. He has been interviewed twice by the BBC regarding his poetry and translations. In 2014 he was awarded the Tololyan Prize in Literature. His latest album,The Cynthia Sessions, was released in 2013. He is a lecturer in English at the American University of Armenia.