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).

MORE FROM THIS ISSUE

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

October 2009

Biography

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.

Continue reading this biography

Poems by Emily Fragos

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem


Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.