of sickly lights shine pale in kitchen windows.
Thermostats are adjusted. Furnaces
blast on with a whoosh. And day
rumbles up out of cellars to the tune
of bacon spitting in a greasy pan.
Scrape your nail along the window-pane,
shave off a curl of frost. Or press your thumb
against the film of white to melt an eye
onto the fire escape. All night
pipes ticked and grumbled like sore bones.
The tap runs rust over your chapped hands.
Sweep last night's toast-crumbs off the tablecloth.
Puncture your egg-yolk with a prong of fork
so gold runs over the white. And sip
your coffee scalding hot. The radio
says you are out ahead, with time to spare.
Your clothes are waiting folded on the chair.
This is your hour to dream. The radio
says that the freeze is on, and may go on
weeks without end. You barely hear the warning.
Dreaming of orange and red, the hot-tongued flowers
that winter sunrise mimics, you go out
in the dark. And zero floats you into morning.
Robyn Sarah, from The Touchstone: Poems New & Selected (House of Anansi, 1992). © Robyn Sarah. Reprinted with permission of the poet. Robyn Sarah’s new poetry collection, My Shoes Are Killing Me, will be published in April 2015 by Biblioasis Press. Biblioasis also published her 2009 collection, Pause for Breath.
Poet photograph credit: D. R. Cowles.
Art credit: "Rob Fillion.