On Waking with the Pain

1 May 2015

Now in the night I wake to it:
plucking of a cello string,
low hoot of wind in a deep cave,
song of wrongness sounding,
sounding.

The hand is unmarred to look at,
paragon of itself, sweet in sleep
as a small bald mouse
curled in the nest of its mother.
Nothing hurts it. But oh,
it hurts.
Someone is crying for help
in a locked house; I cannot get in.

In the hallway mirror I see
the slumped back, fattish neck, arm
dangled like a butchered fowl.
What fool left me here
in charge of this body?

All the world put away in its box
but us: the body and I. What to do but sit
and wait, in the mesh-curtained streetlight,
by the grey quiet
of the television, the shapes
of the dirty glasses.
Sit! Are we not a good dog? The hand
inert in our lap: look what we’ve fetched. Surely
the master comes back for us
by morning.

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