He steps into the elevator,
wool cap shuttering his eyes.
The chill stays behind
the sealed doors.
We live in concrete flats but
for the moment we float like glass.
His coat is camel hair. His hand
does not touch the emergency red.
His hand does not shake
or flutter from his pocket.
The elevator stretches
and I want to take this man
and tell him I know what he has done and I
have done it too. We are brothers of copper breath.
If I could only see his eyes, his freckled hands,
measure the width of his feet or stroke his starched lapel
which stays stiff, buttoned
as the doors pull apart.
First published in Northwords Now, 2010.