Poem: Waking

by Stephen Dobyns

Wak­ing, I look at you sleep­ing beside me.
It is ear­ly and the baby in her crib
has begun her con­ver­sa­tion with the gods
that direct her, coo­ing and mak­ing small hoots.
Watch­ing you, I see how your face bears the signs
of our time together–for each objective
descrip­tion, there is the roman­tic; for each
sci­en­tif­ic fact, there’s the sub­jec­tive truth–
this line was caused by days at a microscope,
this from when you thought I no longer loved you.
Last night a friend called to say that he intends
to move out; so sim­ple, he and his wife splitting
like a cell into two sep­a­rate creatures.
What would hap­pen if we divid­ed ourselves?
As two col­ors blend on a white pad, so we
have become a third col­or; or better,
as a wire bites into the tree it surrounds,
so we have grown togeth­er. Can you believe
how fright­en­ing I find this, to know I have
no life except with you? It’s almost enough
to make me destroy it just to protest it.
Always we seemed perched on the brink of chaos.
But today there’s just sun­light and the baby’s
chat­ter, her won­der at the way light dances
on the wall. How lucky to be ignorant,
to greet joy with­out a trace of suspicion,
to take that first step with­out wor­ry­ing what
comes trail­ing after, as night trails after day,
or win­ter sum­mer, or con­fu­sion where all
seemed clear and each moment was its own reward.

(from Veloc­i­ties: New and Select­ed Poems)

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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