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A Woman Waking
She wakens early remembering
her father rising in the dark
lighting the stove with a match
scraped on the floor.
water for coffee, and later the smell
She would hear
him drying spoons, dropping
them one by one in the drawer.
Then he was on the stairs
going for the milk.
he would be at her door
to wake her gently, he thought,
with a hand at her nape, shaking
to and fro, smelling of gasoline
Then he left.
Now she shakes her head, shakes
him away and will not rise.
There is fog at the window
and thickening the high branches
of the sycamores.
of her own kitchen, the dishwasher
yawning open, the dripping carton
left on the counter.
have gone off steaming like sheep.
Were they here last night?
Where do they live? she wonders,
with whom? Are they home?
In her yard the young plum tree,
barely taller than she, drops
its first yellow leaf.
and hears nothing.
If she rose
and walked barefoot on the wood floor
no one would come to lead her
back to bed or give her
a glass ofwater.
boiled an egg it would darken
before her eyes.
The sky tires
and turns away without a word.
The pillow beside hers is cold,
the old odor of soap is there.
Her hands are cold.
What time is it?
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