The raised grain of golden oak in sunlight
is richer for scars
made beautiful with the caress of lemon oil
on a soft cloth gathering dust,
the patina of use,
the comings and goings of hands
in touch after touch after touch
for which years are as necessary
as the astringent lemon oil
scenting the room
to the slow pulse of the radio.
Ziggy Elman’s horn, exquisitely visceral,
the bittersweet pull,
the segue to Ekstine and Vaughan,
to the muss and rumple of body and soul
in the old untidy life.
This is my room. It is peaceful.
Yet, it accommodates much of the past,
makes boredom welcome.
The smooth plane of the coverlet
defines my bed. It is single.
Naked as a needle I slide in,
sleep the sleep of a nun.
I’ve a gift for arranging things
in a very small space.
My prayers would fit on a pin.
The dogwood at the window keeps nothing
but the bones of this November.
Warmth shrinks in its brittle grasp.
A shadow swallows the room,
folds me into myself.