On Living 366 Miles Apart
You say, Don't take it so hard.
You say, Be positive.
And I take each day
like a matchstick struck
then flung to an iced sidewalk,
flamed to black smudge.
The cats crouch in high windows
now. They watch. As I watch
winter's last geese feeding
in the field's browned grass.
I say, I miss you.
I say, I'll try.
We spend our weathers
apart. For you, it's metronome rain.
For me, the wind won't stop.
And the sugar won't take
to the tea anymore. I swear,
I swallow cold grains whole.
Shows up in my dreams from time
to time. Always the same. Eighteen bridges,
forty-three freeways. A city surrounded
by water, inbound roads elevated,
irregular as veins. Numbered streets run north-south,
and east-west: avenues with names of insects
and countries, Crayola colors and teas.
Each neighborhood with a small lake,
all football shaped, blue eyes scattered,
unblinking. I never fold this map,
although it is creased and ready,
in the dreams it stays open as I sit in my car,
parked at the curb, tracing the routes,
everything exposed. Heart in my lap.
When Anxiety Asks
At four a.m. it's the blood that hums first,
heart slamming in my ears, fingertips numb
under heaped quilts – I throw the covers off,
feet taking over, pacing it out, small strides
from bed to door to water glass,
as my ankles crack dull on the rugs,
the air here won't move, I forget breeze,
the sheen of street light seems fixed.
My bones know the drag. It is all
so much work. At the window,
I see light beaming behind hills.
My clenched fingers answer, unfurl.