Poetry Second Runner-up: Unopened Whiskey and Wine

A charcoal shadow accompanies my husband down the stairs.
He is to steady the ladder so I can change the bulb that’s set
in the tricky ceiling fixture, though I don’t need him there.
His iambic tread upon the steps is diffident and yet
if I’d climbed up alone, he’d say, “Don’t start without me.”
I wait. “I’ll put it in,” he says.
“Your leg,” I say.
“I’ll put it in.”
He holds on as I fiddle with the socket fitfully;
then the bulb’s light throws his dark twin on the wall. As I step
down I see his shadow merge with mine;
they share a common fate. We hold the ladder by its rungs
and put it behind the unopened whisky and wine
we keep behind the bar. Like a currentless light that always hung

between us, the unsaid stays unsaid, and in our dark,
our shadows almost touch, then touch, and are lit without a spark.

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