When You Finally Know

Suddenly you awake, and the
three-year-old who wondered what
it would be like to wake up old has
been answered.

Your first love no longer holds a place
in the heart you swore would never heal
from the breaking,
and the monsters in the closet,
the alligators under the bed,
have revealed their presence,
and have been shamed into hiding
under some other anxious child’s bed,
although you didn’t mean to send them.

Those who would disappoint you,
have done so,
the husbands and mothers
who would drive you to suicide
are dead, or are at last dead to you.

It’s funny.
The day you feared the most,
the day you realized you were not
going to climb Mount Everest
has come and gone,
and you did not collapse
in a small plume of smoke
of the nothingness
you perceived your life to be,
but rather you got up,
went to work,
came home,
played with your dog,
and made supper.

Lately,
you seek the cloak of sleep –
your dreams are movies
of people you knew
but did not know, and
houses where you lived and
left roll by in slow motion,
the unfamiliar curtains billowing
in the still wind, and you see
but just for a moment,
a small face in the window
lit with the pale yellow
of late afternoon sun.