where the ceiling slopes

I dream of snow falling

And my van has been moved into an open garage

and filled with cages of mottled white birds.

The birds are all dying in the cold; they hop and then fall over on to their sides.

They have no song, and there is only the sound of their rustle, back and forth.

A grizzled short blond man who has a key to our? apartment lets himself inside,

and as I shove him to the wall,

hard and rough,

he smiles with stained teeth,

explaining, as though this is knowledge the world holds,

That he pays $45 a month to the landlord,

as to have access to a room inside the flat.

He brings me up dusty turning stairs

and into a room where the ceiling slopes,

and there are no windows,

but three doors that lead to a second story drop

that have been painted shut,

with old white oil paint that has ambered

in the dark..

When I wake it is snowing.