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First to Arrive, a poem by Roger Pfingston

First to Arrive
Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center/Bloomington, IN

by Roger Pfingston

First to arrive, he sits listening to the building,
the irregular ticks and hums, the occasional snap
like something contracting under winter’s grip

on this June night. It feels good, this aloneness
with warped wood floors, limestone walls.
He begins to take on a kind of ownership,

as if he could be where he wants when he wants
in this building, huge with friendly indifference,
letting him sit and be at the top of the stairs,

no voice but his outside the dark room
that becomes whatever others need it to be,
Terpsichore being tonight’s honored guest.

Bio: A retired teacher of English and photography, Roger Pfingston is the recipient of a
Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and two PEN
Syndicated Fiction Awards. He has poems in recent issues of Poet Lore, Spoon River
Poetry Review, Innisfree Poetry Journal, and U.S. 1 Worksheets. New poems are scheduled to
appear in Poetry East and Hamilton Stone Review. His chapbook, A Day Marked for Telling, is
available from Finishing Line Press.