Monday, February 13, 2012

In two acts

Alone for a Week

By Jane Kenyon
I washed a load of clothes
and hung them out to dry.
Then I went up to town
and busied myself all day.
The sleeve of your best shirt
rose ceremonious
when I drove in; our night-
clothes twined and untwined in
a little gust of wind.

For me it was getting late;
for you, where you were, not.
The harvest moon was full
but sparse clouds made its light
not quite reliable.
The bed on your side seemed
as wide and flat as Kansas;
your pillow plump, cool,
and allegorical. . . .

Parenting around these parts is a two-person act but sometimes. I confess, when there is only one person it goes more smoothly. There are no assumptions about who will wipe the bench or clean the children's teeth.  One can hog the electronic devices to one's heart's content, there are no bathroom queues or collisions in the kitchen.  The bed is a glorious expanse of space that can be filled with a soft, little cuddle-able body.   We live in a state of suspense waiting for your return.  It is quieter and noiser at the same time.  We seem to talk more loudly.
It's not the same without Dadda.  Things go bump in the night more than usual. A halogen light bulb always blows when you are away. Some chores are more easily done by someone tall and strong. Books about the minoans and gladiators need a masculine narrator.  We cry when we hear your voice on the phone.  We are glad you are home.  A restive peace returns.  
Jane Kenyon, “Alone for a Week” from Collected Poems.


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