Prolonging Rest

by Jill Leininger

This year the crocuses, awkwardly counting in the yard,
astound me. I’ve been leaving my body for days

but not my house. In the untidy dark, the cats keep
settling onto everything I’ve opened and left opened.

They scratch and pester each other like twin ideas,
resigning themselves to opposite ends of the couch.

The house, too big for the three of us, still smells sour
after months of separation, though my wife had let her-

self in for three visits, just to open what remained
untouched: the windows and blinds. Some skins

shed this winter will not come back; others may
surprise us. Still, I’m not ready for the earth to

hear me wandering this house, like its ghost-fire,
bound to it deeply but from a distance, asking

What would happen if I opened my grief? Days later,
I’m here, broaching the late afternoon sun, planning

to return at dusk. The cats will have held their positions,
the black one on a book, the grey, my unmade bed.

And that, I feel, is enough undoing. The spring light
assaults me; I’ll hold it like a grudge. Tonight I’ll climb

into bed with the pulse I have, which bears the unspoken
and beckons my love, too soon, with spears of color.

Published on April 18, 2011