Jeffrey Morgan

The Rental


The stairs to the basement sound like an animal in another language.
I smell mold, but think about God and try to understand

His attention like a particle that might not exist.
Realtors have a way of speaking that means nothing

to me: proximity to transportation; square footage and usable space.
I step into the closet to be polite. I think it would be funny

to moan like a ghost, but don’t. I like the wastefulness of long hallways
on every floor, the new refrigerator’s virginal magnetism.

I feel obligated to flush each toilet.
She asks me what I do. She asks me if I have children.

I listen to water moving in the pipes and condense my face
in a way I hope conveys approval. She wonders what I’m holding together,

and I want to explain all the invisible forces.



“The Rental” is reprinted from Third Coast.


Jeffrey Morgan is the author of Crying Shame (Blazevox, 2011). Newer poems appear, or will soon, in Barrow Street, Bellevue Literary Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Pleiades, Diode, Third Coast, and West Branch, among others. He lives in Bellingham, WA and blogs very occasionally at