The Cellar

By Emily Fragos Emily Fragos
Under the locked grille, the animals are crying.

You hear them while you wait and when the bus pulls up,

Finally, and you get on. That was many years ago.

The cellar is given over to new shopkeepers, one after the other,

Who fail and are replaced. Even the selfish brother,

The crazed neighbor, the criminal in his cell, face of blue

Tattoos, has never allowed a living thing to starve

As you have. Who knows this except for you and the laughing

African with his flashing gold teeth and padlock key.

Source: Poetry (October 2009).


This poem originally appeared in the October 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

October 2009


Emily Fragos is the author of Little Savage (Grove Press, 2004). She appears in the film The Fortune Writer and teaches poetry at New York University and Columbia University.

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