While chops sizzle and onions brown,
the radio intones failures, floods, and fires,
and the family cries its needs,
Step out the kitchen door
Train your eyes on the clouds,
rumpled on the darkening sky
How big are they, you wonder,
and where is that cicada with its kazoo,
and the bees that all day probed the flowers?
How far is that brightest star
and why does it look like you could
cup it in your hand?
Would it sting like spattered fat?
Or melt like a chip of ice
and hiss into vapor?
How old is the light filtering down
and will you ever see another night?
Is anyone else out breathing the damp
drifting from the mountains?
Should you go, wander the streets
to somewhere you can’t imagine
A bar, a hotel, a restaurant,
a grove of firs
haloed in moonlight?
The cicada breaks off its song
Crows squawk a last goodnight
Bats swoop and disappear
Wipe your hands on your apron
How long have you stood here?
Go back inside
to anchor your husband and child,
and turn down the flame
before dinner burns.