THE THINGS THAT KEEP US HERE
I wouldn’t call them dream times exactly,
those moments when the wind finds you
folding clothes or putting the milk away.
And all that was no longer is.
As if you stepped out from another life
you lived just moments ago. It’s the smell
of the closet or the strain in that sonata
you listened to yet never heard till now.
But it isn’t now anymore.
It could be that a man you know well
turns his head in conversation to look
at someone and you notice the curve
of his neck below his ear to where it slides
inside his sweatshirt.
It hurts to see the softness there. It’s not
longing because you aren’t thinking
about the future. For a moment
you’ve forgotten about that. You should be
in a movie but you aren’t. It’s just your life:
a piano note, a folded shirt, the stray black sock.
by Christine Hemp
from “That Fall,” Finishing Line Press
IMAGE: Marvin Cone, “Appointed Room,” 1940 oil on canvas (detail)