It will be, after all, hours before I get to sleep;
me and my repetitive behavior, pacing this room.
I’m here often, arms in the grain of wood panels,
these legs becoming russet twill rugs.
Cold morning floor tiles at the north end are not,
well, obvious, but sensible certainly,
the way I know I’m waking alone as thoughts stagger in,
holding onto each other in a renewed effort to stand
and speak between clenched teeth.
Sometimes it’s harder deciding which lamp to light,
or whether to raise the blind over the window,
than pulling out a pair of pants, socks, shoes
when my body becomes re-inhabited. But where do I appear?
Who says hello, holding me steady with closed eyes?
Somewhere, you sweep your kitchen, and in the air
a pale scent of the soap I use, like a smile
at your wall hangings, settles along the furniture.
There’s a telephone ringing, cars seem to pull up
at the sidewalk, one after another, and a shuffling dog
snuffles at the door. Any of these may bring me:
patina of a person outside his immediate life,
dancing on a thin line of afternoon sunlight.
Yet what is beautiful is exactly what’s terrible
about this view across the bay, the deep distance.
You must remember to tell me –
those stars, purposeful and entirely out of reach:
are they painted nearer than I might believe?
Even there, if I were to pray to them
and reach my soul out for the haste of touch,
would that precious searing of light simply smear,
and lose its perfect perspective of depth
with all the other distorted joys of dimension?
Then who would I turn to? Who, after the last song,
is delighted enough to leave the dancehall, walk through one gate
along a familiar cinder path and knock at this welcoming door?
There are some things in the autumn air which I cannot seek out,
which must choose to fly down with sudden streaks of oak leaf
to pierce my chest and, quaking, wake me again and again.