Posts Tagged ‘aloneness’

In Room 224




My daughter is still asleep

after stealing the sheets

all night. I finally let her

have them all and I’ve risen

to watch the snow not fall

outside the window.

It is gray, and from where

I sit on the floor, I’m not sure

if it’s gray because it’s too early

for sun or because it’s cloudy.

I don’t want to move

or make a sound—

would rather not wake

my daughter. They are rare,

these moments alone.


A truck rattles by outside.

I notice I am noticing the truck.

That’s a lot of noticing

for something so insignificant,

I think to myself,

then I’m startled by a laugh,

a full belly laugh, in the bed

beside me. My daughter, dreaming,

can’t stop giggling.

God, I think, it’s great

to have a body,

and on this cold, gray morning,

gratitude finds me and

body slams me

with my wild luck,

pins me with joy

to be this very woman

on the floor in room 224

not at all alone.


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Even though I know you don’t read poems,

I want to thank you for calling me last night

when your living room was too big for one,

when all the ex-lovers were somewhere else

and even the kids were gone. Thank you

for calling me to say how alone it is.

For half an hour, we were alone together,

weeping and laughing in our separate rooms.

Just tonight I realized I do not know how gravity works.

Something to do with mass. And distance.

How much of what rules us do we not understand?

The vase falls and it breaks. We know that and learn

to be more gentle with our hands. It’s more

out of habit than true understanding. Our loneliness,

too, is a kind of a rule that we spend our whole lives

trying to change, but it is always there.

Eventually we come to see that everything

will be taken from us. Our aloneness is all that is left.

It is only frightening until it is not. Then it frightens us again.

Thank God we are here to explore it together,

this alarming lack of anything to hold onto.

When we say goodbye, it is gentle. We both know

what it feels like to break. There is too much at stake

not to love each other, alone and distant as we are.

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only one other
set of footprints in the snow
beside mine—
I try not to hold it against them
for not being yours

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I remember how,
as I was free falling,
for weeks I fell,
so many hands reached
out for me as if
to save me from falling.

I extended my own hand,
not to catch hold, but
to wave as I passed.
I knew there was nothing
anyone could do
to stop the plummeting.

There was
no sorrow in this.
I was falling. That was
the way it was.
And then one day
I was not.

I don’t remember
how it stopped. There
was no violence.
No pain. No crash.
No blood. No bruises.
No scars.

Even knowing this,
as I watch you fall,
my hands can’t
stop themselves
from reaching.

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We follow the call. It leads us deeper and deeper.
—Joi Sharp

Inside, I think I hear the call of crow,
and walk outside to find where it is singing.
Crow is nowhere to be seen, no winging
cross the blue. Not in the trees. And no
more song. I listen. Listen. Listen. Oh!
I hear it there, through pinions, a small hinging
in the air, and try to follow, swinging
my legs over cactus patches, deer scat, snow,
an old barbed wire fence strung low, what’s that?
Another bird. What’s that? A hidden creek.
Where is the crow? I stop, perch on a stone.
Caw. I startle, looking for the black
outline of bird. It’s here, I think, and meet
my shadow, flapping in the sun, alone.

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