The flashlight bobs in the windows,
then there and here again.
The frames on the wall are all
exactly where they were before
but he needs to be sure.
It’s tiresome getting up
to check (at 3am)
but it’s a habit
or a ritual? a need?
and it’s not as if he’s
He shaves alone and showers
alone and sits at the breakfast nook
methodically reading the paper,
and with no one there to please
He has complete freedom.
The smell of bookbinding glue and dust
put him at ease
the order and peace of
row upon row upon row
exactly where they’re
supposed to be.
Co-workers exchange pleasantries
and speak in hushed tones about how
the weekend went; a movie seen or
a trip to the country.
He nods, smiles and
straightens the index cards again.