Weeds discovered huddled at the tower’s base, in cracks,
were gassed. At last inspection, none had sprung back.
Feisty but mortal, a gangsta tag was wiped
from the north wall, leaving the merest smear, like soup on an elder’s bib.
Some vague flaw vexing an exec’s window was effaced,
amendable warp in her expanse of plexiglass.
All seems well and the marble’s polish gleams unscuffed and chipper.
The dining room revolves, revealing dreamy views of gloaming vista.
So I sign off, yours truly, humble super, bowing out,
handing my torch to the night shift guy with his paunch and laden belt.
The chimes of his keys will chatter in halls until the dawn’s cheeks blush.
His nametag will be accurate, his hounds on their leash robust.
Let’s turn in, those hordes of us who need not know the night;
snore ensconced among the folds of Incident Logs unfilled.
Dozing, let’s patrol the fabled room immune to grime, or sweep
with brittle straw the pristine floor that greets the newborn feet.
Pupils shifting under lids, wait, wait for the report:
the gun that starts the race, or kills the lights.
From The Gun That Starts the Race (Goose Lane, 2015) by Peter Norman