I am annoyed by the sound of people snoring
For the same reason I am annoyed
By a room full of musicians:
A bunch of people finding peace
COME IF YOU'RE COMING
I want to be asleep when she gets here,
So that she can wake me up.
I can never resist rising
To the sound of her coming into bed,
After she brushes off her clothes
Into a pool at her feet,
And slips off her shoes,
Like she is stepping from the river
Onto a dry towel.
Before she wakes me,
I hear her in my dreams,
The creak of the wooden staircase,
The flick of the padlock,
Her bike coming over the cracks in the sidewalk.
And even earlier she is in her own room,
Checking that she has everything for work tomorrow, Showering where there is better shampoo,
And moving closer to the last page.
But from my dreams
I should not rush her along.
She has a couple things to do
And knows as well as me,
That as soon as she comes over
And crawls into bed,
I will wrap my arms around her like a warm towel
And there will be time for nothing
Beyond the slow whispers of goodnight.
I hope it becomes habit
At some point in the coming years
To call my sisters
With nothing more than simple questions,
Asking how they are doing
And if anyone changed the Netflix password.
I wonder when we’ll get to the point
Where I move from asking about their days
And maybe about their families
To asking about Dad
And the latest from the doctor.
Strange numbers of my friends
Are already at that point:
Playing nurse, planning appointments,
My dad no longer had living parents
By the time he was 50
And I thought that was sad,
Before you lost yours.
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TWO USEFUL HANDS
This morning I was singing.
By afternoon I was lost.
I walked down the street
Wanting to ask a stranger—
Do you feel consistently you?
I feel consistently me
Only in the sense
That I am growing happier and sadder
With every given day.
I feel consistently me
Only in the sense that being
Means that I can be heartbroken
And still find reason
For a walk in the sun.
Being consistently me
Means being frustrated with family
You seem to be improving.
I say thank you,
But I am not improving.
I was never broken.
I was never whole.
I was born with two hands.
One for joy, one for sorrow—
Both equally divine,
And kind of silly-looking
Without the other.
A GIRL AND HER FLOWERS
On our way to the train station
To break up and say goodbye
We passed a family of four:
Three kids and their father.
The kids were strung along behind him
On some invisible rope,
The end of which tugged on the youngest girl
And her bobbing bouquet of flowers.
The light turned green
And we drove past,
Quietly imagining the future family
We could make together
Just as I heard the girl cry out in tears
Having fallen, scraped her knee,
Tipped over by the weight
Of one too many roses.
You’ll know it’s that time of year
The dying weeks of summer
If you’ve still the sense
That the last weeks of summer
Are right up there with dying.
I would imagine my last moments
To be just as impending, just as riveting,
Just as peaceful and perpetual,
If I were to design them.
The pool is quiet and getting cold.
The hours at the farmers market change
And apple prices go down.
The longest days slip away,
Their racket fading slowly downstream
And a more decisive nighttime
To join the sunset.
Everything is one last time.
The final river
The last green leaf
Your goodbye bikini
And the first star tonight.
We come together in a circle
Humming, not chanting,
All scars are from summer,
This last one more than ever.
And I know I’m not the only one hoping!
Hoping to die in late August.