Footsteps and Cold Spots: A Poem by Thomas O’Connell

Footsteps and Cold Spots

I sit in my room,

Indian style on my bed
With a tape recorder before me.
Pages of history printed from the microfiche
Reader at the public library

Documents of a sad tale,

Grown tedious except for the echo.
I have questions written down
On a legal pad, things that I want to ask you

This was your room, wasn’t it? Give me something
To tell them. Something that
Cannot be explained away
Can I help you somehow?

They say I spin yarn.

What holds you here? I won’t know
If you respond until I rewind the tape and listen,
Listen in the pauses after my voice.
Do you want to move on?


Thomas O’Connell is a librarian living on the banks of the Hudson River in Beacon, NY, where he is the 2015-2016 poet laureate. His poems have appeared in Elm Leaves Journal, Blue Earth Review, and Hobart, as well as other print and online journals.

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