Illumination (A Poem)
Three notebooks stacked on your desk
for spiritual practice, for poetry, for everything left over,
probing questions from students,
comments on a burgeoning community start-up,
painful conversations with a vet about your dying pet.
The coffee table book doubling as a stand for a laptop.
An illuminating light for video calls,
perched like a psychedelic bird turning itself on and off.
Water in a crystal pitcher that reminds you of your grandmother
and a tall glass to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
One cloth napkin left after a hasty meal.
A gift of lip balm from the housekeepers, who speak to one another in a
tongue of their own.
A tiny vial of herbal potion, warding off emissions from
the laptop, the phone, the space heater, the seasonal affect disorder lamp.
A pack of Kleenex to daub at a cold or allergies or tears.
You blow your nose and drink an entire glass of water
before refilling it from the crystal pitcher.
An array of post-it notes, lime green, pastel blue, blush and hot pink, listing
books to read, courses to explore, podcasts to listen to,
your child’s spring semester classes, astronomy to artificial intelligence,
a tally of the 954 calls made to re-elect your senator, and
A brief meditation from an 18th century Ukrainian rabbi about trust and finding serenity.
A window faces the neighbor’s driveway where each afternoon
a young man in a backwards baseball cap shoots hoops with his toddler daughter.
Last night a full moon tangled in the branches of a maple, limp as an abandoned plastic bag.
You dreamt you were becoming a tree
your silver hair brittle and
swaying in the wind
your body cold and stolid.
“It isn’t like I am asking for the moon,” you say aloud to
no one in particular, except the dog snoring on the daybed.
That may be a lie.
You may indeed be demanding the moon, which belongs to
the tree, the neighborhood, the world, to God.
What makes you think you can covet it,
read all those books, listen to all those podcasts, fill all those notebooks,
and trust enough to find