At breakfast today
In late fall, the yard appears stripped
of color until the hummingbird’s
scarlet throat catches the just-right
light of morning.
We breakfast together now and again.
I with my ceramic mug, she with
her plastic petals. Yesterday she found
the last passion flower on the vine
and spent some time in the rafters.
Below us, the discarded leaves of the
apple tree spend the day softening
only to freeze again overnight.
And I am reminded of the futility
in trying to forget.
Only the Anna’s can hang on to nothing
at all—the figure eight of her wings
propelling her backward and forward,
her seed-sized heart beating laps
At breakfast today, she gives:
I remember you again.
There hadn’t been wolves in the valley meadow
for decades, but lately signs: scat on the driveway
to the grandfather cabin, the mauled hoof of a deer,
tufts of grey fur in the dry grass. Of course I wanted
to see. Always the yearning. It doesn’t heed.
Often it takes years for one desire to come full
circle. Take for instance the kiss in the meadow,
when the grass bent down before our backs
just as the sun began to sink behind the hills—
and I discovered I no longer wanted what I finally had.
How do we keep anything sacred? As we pulled
into the drive, the wolf pups scattered in every
direction, each a different shade of grey or brown
against the golden meadow. Later, the mother
came across the field as if blind to us.
I too don’t see everything in front of me for
what it is. Only since I left have I thought
of you a million times. When our eyes met,
she froze in fear, then trotted off down the creek.
All night she howled for her pups.
I don’t sleep because I did that to her. I lay awake
and think: maybe I can love more. Maybe I can
be better in a multitude of ways.
After the initial shock of the alarm,
the body’s rustling groan,
it’s the ritual of morning that I love:
the lather of soap,
the rinse of hot water,
the smear of mascara.
I love the sound of water just
beginning to boil, and the precision
in preparing coffee: three scoops,
pour, four minutes, press.
Five minutes to cool before
the first bitter taste on my tongue.
But most of all, the dependability
of morning: it always comes.
I step outside and the air welcomes
me with relief. Another day.
Another chance to get it right.