Why do you draw the sheets
over your head
and shrink from the day?
Is it because your father
taught you life
was an aching tooth
to be endured until
they finally removed it?
Or that friends’ fatal illnesses
began with nothing more
than a numbness in the arm
or a lump in the throat
and you’ve lost your energy
of late?

Or is it the anniversaries
of those who,
lulled by the frosty season,
never awakened at all?
You search for them
in your brooding dreams,
your footsteps echoing
down deserted streets
in cities with no name.

Stretching out your arms now,
you are relieved to find
a warm body next to yours.
You press her hand
and paddle to the kitchen
and set a pot of coffee there
for two.


(originally published in The Bookends Review)

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