enveloped in cream, those clouds that bloom up
like madness in a cup, and I take the first swallow
before the color changes, taste the bitterness
and the faint sweet behind it, steam
rubbing my nose, an animal nuzzle,
and the sharp, nearly painful heat
at the back of my tongue, the liquid
unraveling down the raw tunnel of my throat.
And I feel my body fully, vessel of desire,
my stomach a pond of want and warmth,
utterly human, divine and awake. And I can hear
each bird's separate song, the chirt and scree,
the sip, sip, sip, the dwindle and uplift yearning,
the soup's on, soup's on, let up, let it go
of each individual voice, and I know I am here,
in this widening light, as we all are, with them,
even the most damaged among us or lonely
or nearly dead, and that for each of us there is
some small sound like an unseen bird or
a red bike grinding along the gravel path
that could wake us, and take us home.
This morning I think I'm prepared for
the final diminishment, with something
like a waking, ready awe. My complaints
folded and put away in a drawer
like needlework, unfinished, intricate
woven roads that go nowhere or disappear
in the distance, rough wanderings
that have brought me here, to this
sleep-repaired morning, these singing trees
and into my own listening body.
"Morning Song" by Dorianne Laux, from Facts about the Moon: Poems. © W. W. Norton and Company, 2005. A longer version can be read at the Free Library.
Image credit: "Red Bicycle," digital painting by Vaidas Bucys (originally color).