Sunday, August 31, 2008

Poem of the Week #35

When You Wake Up

When you wake up, clear-eyed, over here
on this side of the veil, you’ll find
that you remember the smallest things:

Sunday mornings spent with your mother
at the laundromat reciting Dr. Seuss—the perfume
of warm cotton sheets, fresh from the dryer,

The name of a certain French cheese
you ate one afternoon in a park in Paris
with a boy named Alain and a bottle of wine,

The giggles of girls laying out their towels
in the sand as they carefully pull down
their bra straps, arranging their limbs just so.

Once the skin is shed, you find yourself
missing an itchy nose or a child’s cool arm
flung across your chest as you sleep.

These small movements move through you, not
as great waves crashing upon the breakwater,
but more like silent rings spooling from a pebble

thrown by a father’s hand. You’ll remember
these moments as though they just happened
this morning, though morning was really

a hundred years ago and afternoon is a place
you will never go again and bedtime is nothing
but a distant speck on memory’s horizon.

Lisa Vihos

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