By Timothy Gillis
I wake up early to check on the ocean.
After another night of teaching dreams,
I wake early to check on the shore,
make sure she is still there
after a year of removable news.
In my inbox is a poem from an old friend who
still persists in sending them to me,
even though I never reply in kind.
As with all the others, I’m moved to try but
this time I really do. Letters continue to fail me,
but I email him back anyway, to thank
him for the intentions.
I go outside, ahead of Wyatt to check for skunks,
then let the dog out to join me.
The moon is still up, a fingernail with clear sights
on the rest of her phases.
The sun is rising and gives me a dual perspective of
dark and light, night in its unceasing tussle
with day’s break.
Coffee and the day’s first cigarette do their usual business,
rousing in me some kind of buzz, some kind of human hum
against the machinery.
Wyatt sniffs last night’s proceedings,
carousing the ground at our new home, then
raises his snout to the moon
and whatever’s in the air that only a dog can know.
Looks to the ocean to ask if we’re going.
We will, I tell him, when mum’s awake
and can join us. I consider the double impact of
two competing celestial bodies, usually
unaware of each other but now occupying the same horizon.
I sip and smoke and say good morning to my dad,
tell him I have always believed in him, tell him that
I still do now, even years after I cannot see him anymore,
tell myself to believe in myself, believe in the possibility
that two conflicting emotions can coexist,
that it’s okay to doubt and still don the
morning cap of capable, the fingerless gloves that let me smoke and write
and still stay warm, find the letters that come together in this poem,
rusty and out-of-shape but still in key.
Tell myself that, for now, that’s more than enough.