In My Room #1
By Jane Tawel
April 16, 2020
In my room,
that I painted by my own hand
in muted shades of green and coral and tan,
In a year when I was young and trending colors intrigued me,
And my shoulders didn’t ache until evening fell
And I stirred at the stove for the children’s hour.
In my room
that has been nestled in this old house for a hundred years and more,
Even before my birth somewhere due east from here;
In this room
Were lives that mattered to someone else
and still sometimes seem to ghost the air here.
Whose faint lines are traced in long-gone breathed circles
Whispering still upon the windows here?
I long to kiss those tiny mouths that fogged the glass,
And grasp damp, sticky fingers, that mother once did chide,
For etching fleeting messages of love.
I breathe deeply in and look
from left to right and up and down
at what will never be tomorrow,
but only now and now and now
creeping in this petty pace from day to day.
My room invites the shades of sunlight in,
allowing light to tap and pat upon
the limbs of substance hardened around my soul.
In this room,
Like bread kneaded,
I sit on the hard couch that once belonged to Grandma, hoping
To still be needed,
and I rise.
In my room,
My thoughts dance in moods that play like musical chair contestants.
The room is piled with books and piled-up memories;
Things I cleaned only yesterday (or maybe it was last year?).
I entertain the thought that I should
Fluff the pillows on the window seat
And look inside the lid that no one opens any more
to search for games or puzzles.
How many pieces would I find missing?
In my room, I hide,
Like a child who isn’t sure it’s all been just a game
— a little scared, a little giddy —
And no one can see her,
hiding behind the coats in the closet
away from the gods controlling her life.
And dreamlike all day long are those
who rush by my front yard, obscured
by the big, brooding camphor tree, that stands outside my room,
like a sentinel, like a goddess of ancient woods,
protecting my bunkered thoughts
and sheltering my memories,
in my room.