write 31 days: dreamscape – day 11

why, like Roethke, I take my waking slow

Waking means doing things.
It means waiting, which means impatience, 
everything takes too long, and then 
it’s over too soon, or it drags on endlessly, not 
as satisfying as I’d imagined, or I lack 
the one tool needed to do it right 
or at all. By “lack,” I mean the tool is somewhere, 
where I’m not.

Waking means the perpetual slow-down 
of the bathroom ritual, and instantly, daily, 
I reassess the wisdom of mornings 
as a starting place, but finally 
the promised day seems to begin, 
largely unused, still possible, until I notice 
the loaded dishwasher, remember an overdue 
birthday card, can't pass by the unmade bed 
or the cat's litter box, and if none of those things, 
there's always my shattering mind and 
its debris field, its overlapping fragments 
and figments, and     
so the day shrinks before it's barely begun, 
a constriction that threatens each moment, 
because it’s all all all 
already too small, too filled, 
and I feel finite.

I look outside repeatedly. 

Today I just want to do everything 
at once: make breakfast with fresh local ingredients 
and grateful focus, eat it attentively and slowly while
I read email, meditate, and play with the cat -- 
the unremitting cat whose day is large -- 
as I go outside and take photos in the garden, 
go outside and don’t take photos but only witness,

water the garden while I do and don’t take photos,
and weed it, and prune what needs pruning,  
and harvest the suddenly seen small tomatoes and giant squash
and stop and absorb it all, breathing. My hands balance 
a smooth green breakfast bowl, chopsticks, the frisky cat, 
computer, camera, pruners, perfect long-handled weeding tool, 
blue watering can, container of tomatoes and squash -- and now 
a cucumber, some arugula necessitating absent scissors -- 

and I also want to plant something, or transplant it, 
with the shovel that’s in the shed and the mulch 
piled on the driveway’s edge, the not-enough compost 
in the backyard, and the one watering can, left elsewhere.

© MMWms 2020


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Featured image: me with tools, May 2018 (manipulated with deep art effects)


  1. This is exactly how I feel almost every day! You have distilled it perfectly in this poem. I’ve started staying in the bedroom to read in the early morning, waking up slowly with coffee and a good book postpones the inevitable sensation of time slipping away.

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