Sunday After

If I could misplace a single morning
it would be this one.

Here even the dust echoes
almost as loud as the bath
faucet dripping since last month. She gathered
her purse, lipstick, belt, shoes,
and key ring with its plastic monkey
wearing a yellow beret. That was an hour ago.

Down the porch steps she left because
she had trouble sleeping. To tell
you the truth, so did I.
Maybe I knew she'd only
peek in the front windows
of this guest cottage in my heart. She won't settle in,
claim the unlocked china cabinets, sleepwalk the nicked
hardwood hallways, or hang her coat
on the wobbly hook, dribbling plaster,
over the radiator.

Where can I fold up
and put away today's
morning, so vast and wide the falling tablecloth
in my chest cannot settle over it all?

Stephen Roger Powers won an Academy of American Poets Prize while working on his PhD in creative writing at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. To help cover the costs of graduate school he moonlighted as a stand-up comedian in clubs and casinos around the Midwest. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Shenandoah, Margie, Smartish Pace, 32 Poems, and the University of Iowa Press anthology Red, White, and Blues: Poets on the Promise of America, among others. He teaches at Marian College in Fond du Lac, and spends his free time at Dollywood. (stephen@trevorausten.com)

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