The family has gone off for a week
and Iíve stayed back to do
significant work which might crank
the century a couple of notches forward,
something with the wild odor
of the unsayable in it
and what Iíve done so far
is walk from room to room
remembering how a few hours ago
my daughter was chattering away
on the phone, and my son was listening
to some heavy metal delirium,
and wasnít it just this morning
that I sat with my wife on the porch
talking of solitude as balm for the soul?
Did I actually say soul
and could I have meant
something less imposing, like "nerves"?
What Iím trying to do
is resist the kitchen clock
which is ticking unforgivingly.
And the house has suddenly become
immense with too much light,
not a word I say will contain it.
So I make myself tea
and think of Li Po in his garden
unfolding the delicate lotus of his poems
but Iím also hungry
so I boil a hot dog till itís plump
like the ones at Coney Island
where Iíve never been
but I can imagine can't I?
while I assuage the animal in me
so it can burrow further
into the dark pocket of itself
to let me think think think.
But hereís the mailman now
with letters...for everyone else --
so many unopened envelopes
accruing on the table with news
growing stale, news that might include
something irresistible, maybe about me!
So much to get done
and how is it that itís already evening
and time for a drink and the anchorman,
and maybe calling old friends
because itís hard
trying to get through the hours,
remembering the dog with its soulful eyes
and my son bobbing up and down,
and the world lying just around the corner
even with night coming on
and my own face staring at me now
from every darkened window.