My wife asks me to leave
the porch light on before bed.
I ask if we are expecting
guests; she says it’s to keep
them away. There was a time
a flame in a window was
a welcome mat, a compass
in the dark. Tradition has
a way of unraveling the longer
it lasts. Think candles
to repel the moth; I wonder
how we learned to fear the light
more than its absence. When
I grab the banister and step
without flipping the switch on,
my memory is a stairwell, groaning
under shadow cast by porches—
neighbors inviting me to stay.

Geoff AndersonGeoff Anderson crosses the tracks, the bridge, the floodwall, and the overpass in Columbus, OH. His work is forthcoming or appears in Wherewithal, Outlook Springs, and Up the Staircase, among others.