I’ve planned the day somewhere between REM and non,
long before the 5:30 goes off.
I turn it off ten minutes before its shrill ring numbs my ears
and shocks the children awake,
their limbs still woven into each other’s for warmth.
I tie my hair and tiptoe into the bathroom.
From the louvered shutters of the bathroom window,
I hear alarms go off and watch lights turn on in other houses.
In just under two hours,
I will have packed for mid-mornings and breaks short and long,
laid out uniforms and nursery prints and handkerchiefs and socks,
panicked about homework due and birthdays still months away,
woken children in varying degrees of protest,
gulped a mug of tea already gone cold,
and glanced through the horoscope for the day
with the absent-minded precision of a nurse adjusting a saline dose.
Black begins to turn blue
and my resolve melts
into rivulets of saline down my temples.
the poem in my head will not reach the page that has been blank too long.
The rose will call for a trim and the gourd will die from infestation.
I will miss yet another exhibition or lecture or lunch
And I may never write that story the kids will remember me by.
Outside, the white light is still untouched by the spring sun
like a sterile hospital room.
I open the door to answer the soft thud of the newspapers
and let the day in.