I wake before dawn to the rhythmic sound of rain,
That final dream just beyond my reach — let it go.
I see her familiar outline, I hear her steady breathing.
She rides at anchor, I imagine, in the warm waters of some phosphorescent sea,
Rising and falling on the long, smooth swell of kindly waves.
First the squeak of that goddamn floorboard,
Then the burble and spit of my little machine,
Its pinprick of green light a tiny lighthouse on a rocky coast,
And at its feet, visible in the shallow water, lie shipwrecks,
Today’s headlines of sunken hopes and ruined lives.
No, give me instead this fretwork of shadow on the wall.
Let me return, through memory, our absent children to their vacant bedrooms.
Let this gentle rain shelter us, for a while longer, against the storms.