Proof
 

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.