My Mother Called it Morning

My Mother Called it Morning

That’s why women wear a crumpled smile between their legs. – Diane Ackerman

1.

I couldn’t always watch you.
There were times when I had to sleep,
had to stretch, had to yawn. All those times
my eyes just closed. I couldn’t help that.

Still, most times I was awake for you.
I watched you watching –
so unflinching, so blind.

I remember the course of a winter.
You played tic-tac-toe alone
with your breath on cold glass.
I’ve never seen a child so lost.

I could’ve carried you.
To where, I don’t know. A place with no windows.
I could have kept you to myself
instead of watching you from every corner
of my vision, knowing so well that there is no chance
for happiness, not for you, no.

2.

I plum forgot what the word dawn even meant,
that shade of blue. Quiet, the only word.
My mother would call it periwinkle.

I walk by the old house some mornings.
The hand in my pocket points out for a phantom
child the window where each morning
I sat sketching the neighbor’s house.

And this, this is my dream house. I barely mouth it,
but the narration in my head is crisp.
There is a nod, a smile. Awe, the only word.
My mother would call it boredom.

When I was a child the trim of their windows
went from purple (my mother called it lilac)
to pink (my mother called it rose)
to green (my mother called it lime).

Now it’s a quiet shade of blue.
Quiet Blue, because the road
is empty, and so few are awake.

From the house on the corner
I hear a baby cry. I plum forgot the little
phantom girl beside me, still nodding, still smiling.

It’s half-past summer, I don’t say.
It isn’t dawn anymore. It’s full on morning.
I’m accustomed to this color. It’s grey, the color
of humidity, perhaps of rain.