Almost the end of March. The creek out
of its banks, milk chocolate flood under
the red brown budding trees. Almost
the first of April, daylight saving, giving
the hour up to gain, to find again at
summer’s end in one of darkness, sleep.
The sky’s curdled, thick, moving.
The fields are almost green, the yard.
I’m cold and empty, hollow and drained.
Who is the stranger walking the alley
in a wine colored sweater? Burgundy,
merlot, bordeaux. Is bordeaux a color?
My husband snores gently and I remember
that in my dream we go to a laundromat
where I don’t know how anything works,
he hands me coins I’ve never seen before,
too big for any of the slots. Life fits and
doesn’t, is recognizable and weird at
random moments yet we parse it as if
it had rules, a grammar, a structure we
could navigate like scaffolding on the
slick impossibly vertical face of the day.
The man who has walked down the
alley has not walked back up it – when
he does he’ll complete a sentence the
only word of which I know is “almost.”
When I write the date, there are
numbers from two to five: only
one is missing. I am the one.
I am the waker, my other is sleeper,
I am the cold woman, he is the warm
man, I am wrapped in layers of clothes,
blankets, he is naked under one white
comforter. He is my comforter, I am
his itch, he sleeps and snores, ignores […]
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Sandra Kohler is the author of three collections of poetry: Improbable Music (Word Press, 2011), The Ceremonies of Longing (2002 AWP Award Series in Poetry; University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003), and The Country of Women (Calyx Books, 1995). Kohler’s poems have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Prairie Schooner, The Colorado Review, The Southern Review, The Missouri Review, Natural Bridge, The New Republic, The American Poetry Review, and others.