Purgatory of Lost Keys

Purgatory of Lost Keys
Ed Davis

My teaching career came down to keys.
After ending the interminable journey
of words and more words, endlessly
packing and pitching, speaking even
more words to those I was leaving,
I was told I needed to turn in my keys.
They’d slipped through my fingers:
keys for classrooms, mailboxes,
labs, cabinets and office doors,
stored in desk drawers, returned
when remembered or requested.
When I counted them, I knew
there should’ve been more.

I presented all I could find to
the woman at the place where
they take back all your keys.
“Oh dear,” she said after counting,
“it looks like Kevin must be called.”
And he came, grim-faced, jangling,
and bent over the computer,
accessing archives, finding me out.
I imagined myself entombed forever
in the Purgatory of Lost Keys.

When at last the man emerged,
I had settled in for the long years ahead.
“You’re kosher,” Kevin said and shook my hand.
A lock clicked open somewhere
upstairs in the stars.

about the author
West Virginia native Ed Davis recently retired from teaching writing full-time at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio. He has also taught both fiction and poetry at the Antioch Writers’ Workshop and is the author of the novels I Was So Much Older Then (Disc-Us Books, 2001) and The Measure of Everything (Plain View Press, 2005); four poetry chapbooks; and many published stories and poems in anthologies and journals. “Time of the Light” is his new full-length poetry collection from Main Street Rag Press. He lives with his wife and cats in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where he writes, bikes, hikes and blogs on mostly literary topics at www.davised.com.