Image courtesy of The Orchid Column




My nights are now full of dark coats
buttoned up on emptiness.
Black shoes carrying nothing
walk out the door each morning.

I wake up to layers of bricks
around my body, each day
one more layer, the cat
already howling on top of my head—
a mad woman.
The cat might as well be dead,
for all the good its shrieking will do.

I have this watch in my pocket—smooth
as sea-glass, perfect.  It doesn’t work.
I take it out every so often.
It always shows the right time.

Soon it will be dawn.  Hungry aches
will circle around my knees, small vultures,
aiming for the heights of this stern rock.
Each day such an Everest.  Still,
they sail quickly through their own storms.
My head in the clouds, I must look invincible.

Down, down to the valleys
of contented housewifery and full bellies,
the mouths of children opening
like orchids, calling, calling.


First published in The 2River View, 18.2 (Winter 2014)

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