All the Places of Waking

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Yesterday afternoon, I woke up from a nap
looked out the skylight and saw blue
with wisps of white

Yesterday afternoon, I woke up from a nap
looked out the skylight and saw blue
with wisps of white
then out the two south-facing windows
to the far tree by mean neighbor Jim’s house
with its green leaves coming into fullness

Yesterday afternoon, I woke up from a nap
looked out the skylight and saw blue
with wisps of white
then out the two south-facing windows
to the far tree by mean neighbor Jim’s house
with its green leaves coming into fullness
then out the three east-facing bay windows
to the far tree in the yard where students
party and play volleyball and drink
from red solo cups in the summer

This is the room
I thought
where I’m waking up from an afternoon nap
This is home
home now
home for now

Then my thoughts drifted back and back
to the other rooms and homes where I woke up
from naps over the years
and though I often think I have a terrible memory
when I thought of the rooms where I woke up
I could picture so many of them
and how each one was home

Do I tell you the addresses
or what blankets were on the beds
or which direction the windows faced
or what color paint was on the walls
whether there were shades or drapes or blinds
dark or direct line of sun
rotten window frame
or new windows
rent or own
stay or go
what of these would you like to know
and which should I say was home?

My mind jumps around from each to each
rather than traveling methodically back
and back
no wonder I am anxious
and so as I woke yesterday afternoon I stayed in bed
a while looking at those two faraway trees
not the closer-up branches nearer to the house
this yellow house this house with two apartments
ours on the second floor
and an attic
filled with other people’s old boxes broken down
and lamps that may or may not work
as I woke I traveled a little bit in line
through time
glad for the quiet
glad for the slow

5 Eames Pl
559 Pulpit Hill Rd
38 Bilodeau Ct
Clymer St don’t remember the number
38 Bilodeau Ct
256 S. Winooski Ave
Summer St don’t remember the number
S. 4th Ave.
Davis St don’t remember the number
Lessey St on and off
Mexico there were two rooms
W. 78th St.
A Russian orphanage
W. 116th St.
Claremont Ave.
Blocked out Claremont dorm address completely
and 57 Harkness Rd
378 Crescent St
130 Crescent St first memory that quilt hanging on the wall by the stairs

Can that be right
Were these the homes
no no
none of these were home
I kept moving
and I’m still here
but yes, these were
all the places of waking

**

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Sight Unseen

rainWhen we stood by the window,
water pouring from the sky ,
when the hot water from the tap
cracked my skin,
when we had to strain to hear
the faintest rhythm drawing in,
covered by the sounds of water
outside and inside
so that we wondered,
would it wait for us
or would we be too late,
when we spent the whole morning
and into the afternoon
in bed, shades drawn, rain
syncopating on skylight, reading
whole worlds and then
the downstairs door clicking,
when we didn’t know if our luck
was slipping in after a wild night out
or heading out into the warm
winter day,
when we held each other, hoping
maybe but mostly not, mostly not
thinking any of these things
(except of the Syrian boy who hadn’t eaten
for a week and wanted “just a sweet,” 
and what we’d read about North Korea
and H-bombs 
and propaganda
and that book about the Nazis
and the playgrounds of Chernobyl,
the past 
rushing up so ruthlessly 
that the news, the novels, all of the words 
might have come with chokeholds 
around the necks of children, 
our children, and a prayer went up then–
mine and hers, though neither of us spoke it
as we lay ourselves down to sleep–
please let them be with us, 
let them be home if it happens, 
when war comes too, to our houses).
No, of these we did not speak
when we turned out the yellow light
and then the white,
when day brightened just enough
to signal morning but the sun
kept us guessing,
something we’d have to buy
into believing sight unseen —
these were the times for what
can only be called Big Love
and the Holy Yes to being
vessels for what we cherish
and came here to name, to know,
to meet head-on
that would have us deciding
what to keep out and whom
to invite in,
when our hearts
were ready to lay down
their arms, ready for battle
with the only weapon
they’d never see
coming.