When I was young

The march and tick and bureaucratic thump

of to-do held no sway

behind my closed door.


Hours would disappear

Summoning a future in oil pastels and wishes.

Interpellating dreams with music and tears.


My room. The hand-made desk and shelf

with peeling and blistered paint

The pillow ancient and compressed

by sweating dreams and practiced kisses

The sketches on the ceiling

Clumsy art

about clumsy hopes

The dusty dollies watching

with impassive glass eyes


The boom-box, powder-blue

The stretched cassettes

The hand-held phone with sticking

latch and wax-encrusted listening holes

that patiently transmitted

hours and hours of adolescent longing and

speculation and

hormone-soaked analysis


The rows of journals

The dainty wallpaper, patterned roses

and ornamental lilies, stared at so often

that a crone, a savage Rochester-profile

revealed themselves in the pattern.


My room. Incubator of dreams

Spasms of desire

radiating longing for the future self.


My own children are on the verge of that age


As I perch my glasses another few

millimetres towards the tip of

my nose to write

As I contemplate the forced foreclosure of

my womb

As I find myself in my bedroom again

with nothing to do but to think

He sleeps beside me.

And they in their rooms.


I bite my tongue to resist the urge to call them out

The urge to have them close

To have them younger


They are old enough that I

remember that age now

Of longing and vibration

Of possibility and despair

Of everything so emergent and bright

But still safe in your room

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