My Mother Called it Morning
That’s why women wear a crumpled smile between their legs. – Diane Ackerman
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.
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.