Various and Sundry Poetry

what brings you to the next morning

Maybe someone sang you to sleep.
Or there was a blackout, and you couldn’t articulate
the hand in front of you.
Maybe the bedroom floor was a deserted beach,
your house a moonscape of solitude.
Or clothes had spilled like a rude volcano,
wine glasses from dinner were scattered
on the coffee table and stained with lipstick,
still holding a thimbleful of revelry.

It could have been one of those nights you needed something
you couldn’t name, a close-knit warmth, a Kleenex,
moisturizer, a lullaby cradling your eyelids.
Or else you were claustrophobic from attention,
the hairs on your arm standing on edge, rebellious,
your body tired of life under a microscope
and something of you desperate for escape,
anonymity, a Yosemite field in the thick of winter,
some carcass of a campsite where you could start again,
build your own small, unseen fire.
Maybe you were stranded in between, your heart caught
on some fishing line, half of you wanting a kitchen stool
to lean against, the other half wildly unfamiliar with the act
of staying still.

What I want to know
is what brings you to the next morning.
How you open one sleepy eye after the other,
part the Red Sea of your comfort and let the air,
graceless and obstinate, pull you into the day.
How you accept the hand that may offer either feather
or thistle. You ask for nothing, not a promise
or a warning or a little party celebrating your entrance,
and instead you heave your weariness from the room,
gather your limbs to the center, and rise.

Tell me what keeps you from plummeting backward.
Tell me on what hidden plume of air you allow yourself
that slim caesura of trust.
Tell me the story of your great impossible hope.
Tell me how your face tilts,
squinting for light.