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When

By Loren Keller

When does it start?

Still awake after midnight

you hear a car drive by

and the sound gradually

trails off into distance.

And it starts.

When does it rise?

You’re watching but not

hearing fireworks from

far off while your sky

fills with sheet lightning.

And it rises.

When does it haunt?

You’ve explored ancient

castles, shivered in their

dungeons. You come home,

see yourself in a mirror,

And it haunts.

When does it speak?

You’re lonely in a crowd

of strangers, bumped and

pushed repeatedly, not

lost but not progressing.

And it speaks.

When does it know?

You have that dream of

sand falling like snow,

of sand dunes trans-

formed into snow drifts.

And it knows.

LOREN KELLER will join poet Ann McCarthy and musician Mike Sheffield in this month’s Circleformance Series reading at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Meridian West Gallery, 1209 Hertel Ave. He is an award-winning Buffalo-based poet, novelist, playwright, actor, essayist and retired educator. Harborage Press published “Evening Everything: The Collected Poems of Loren Keller” in 2005.