Small electronic sounds wake me
Blinded by the middle of the night.
I move as minimally as I can
Having learned the hard way the more I stir
The more I wake,
Mixing thoughts into salt
Salt into flour,
Pushing sugar into butter,
Salt to the wound.
Did the sounds come from next door?
In the morning Mrs. Murphy will pull her eight pieces of wash
Creaking on the clothesline
through her completely concrete yard.
A bird sings, insistently awake.
I’ve heard this song before.
Over-salted now and over-mixed,
Fretting about real electronics or dreamt.
Rising to drink water, in the tiny hallway a noise makes me jump.
My daughter’s childhood bed creaks, she stirs and sighs.
I forgot she was with me tonight.
As I slide back to bed
The bird sings gloriously, alone.
When my daughter was inside me
Her day was for night and night for day.
She went about her business
Running in place as I tried to sleep.
Almost thirteen now she glides through the house
Unfathomably tall, witty and quick.
Long hair, long-fingered,
Graciously sleeping again in her childhood bed.
Both parents too poor now to furnish separate lives.
Back in bed the bird laughs at me –
In truth it is almost dawn; one precious hour left for sleep.
Other birds join this one.
I hug the birdsong to me, turn over
Stirring salt into flour,
yeast dissolved in warm water.
Salt to the wound,
Nothing else in my bed.
My separate layers finally mixed,
Only to be punched down, proofed.