In the long halls
there is a certain loneliness that clutches
and the world blurs for a second
and her feet might hesitate
or her hands clench to fists
in unshared tresses.
The books at her side suddenly seem
too heavy to lift
and there is a great weakness.
There is a soft unsteadiness that
in vague danger of falling
would gain strength from
someone else's large hand that
might surround
and a deep voice that would whisper.

But the phantom with his phantom hand and phantom voice
who frequents such realms as dreams and
yearnings
fades and (never being there at all)
one (would never know by looking at her)
falls