My Mind's Eye Opens Before The Light Gets Up
after Philip Booth
The math I refigure in the dark still comes up short— my roof will have to hold another year, the peeling clapboard won't get paint. I count instead the pounds I aim to lose, the miles I'll have to run to do it. Just what will I serve to this weekend's guests— a carnivore, three vegetarians, two dieters sworn off sugars and carbs? Eyes shut, I replant the garden: peas not leeks, more squash, no beets. This season, how many quarts of blueberries did I fail to freeze? On the coverlet, my hand tells my head we've moved toward frost, to that one day white-throats in the thickets know to leave, but I can't say how many minutes of light each day has already dropped. I preview winter's average snowfall, snapped power lines, a depleted cord of hardwood, replay my tumble down the cellar steps last December, the number of bones I might've broken. Once when money was a bigger part of the equation, a rich man asked me to marry. I no longer keep track of other roads not taken, don't enumerate the people lost to my carelessness, neglect. Still, before the light gets up, I'm moving from aimless drift and inventory into the dangerous territory of reconsideration, of the impossible parity between joy and satisfaction, sorrow and regret. Soon now, the sun will report the morning's weather I have no say in. With another day, another chance to balance the books, only a fool wouldn't be grateful beyond measure. Deborah Cummins