Spooning crunchy little potatoes into my mouth, a sip of a latte, the whine of the boy next to me on the bench, his mother's soft Indian-inflected chiding. A couple walked in and up to the counter, his clothes rumpled, her hair a mat. I knew where they'd been, maybe minutes before. My own crumpled bed, the first night in twenty-one years where I lay without Sophie in the room across the hall. The house was quiet and the world was calm. The first morning, too. Hesitation to write it thus for all that is implied. Sex and death but neither. I might have woken once or twice, alert, then sunk back into sleep, she resting at her father's. Why must I always mark the days? I'm reading a short story and there's a boy and a school and a teacher and a drawer and in it some stars and I look up from my latte and see those tiny golden stars, foil on slick white, so many stars to a sheet to want to wait to earn. Stars unbidden and bidden, hidden yet.
Look in the terrible mirror of the sky
And not in this dead glass, which can reflect
Only the surfaces—the bending arm,
The leaning shoulder and the searching eye.
Look, in the terrible mirror of the sky.
Oh, bend against the invisible; and lean
To symbols of descending night; and search
The glare of revelations going by!
Look in the terrible mirror of the sky.
See how the absent moon waits in a glade
Of your dark self, and how the wings of stars,
Upward, from unimagined coverts, fly.
Wallace Stevens, from The Palm at the End of the Mind, Selected Poems and a Play