Midday Clouds

by the windowsillYou make it all the way to Queens and back

on a yellow bus of children without getting sick,

a little girl's head resting in your lap

and your hand blocking the sun from her eyes.

The driver tells you one too many times that you are beautiful

and now it's hard to look him in the eyes

in the rearview mirror.

He says the slow music is to help the kids fall asleep,

but the lyrics seem a little va-va-voom

for this crowd.


It's not until later,

at home

when you have a big pot of chicken soup cooking

that you finally feel like you have done something good.

Even though you forgot the parsley at the market,

even though later tonight you will stand on a stage.

It's this halved onion and these bay leaves

you won't forget to pull out later

that mean everything.


You turn the soup to simmer and

pull a chair to the kitchen window

to rest your own head,

unshielded from the sun.


Some years it feels like more is lost than found

and when the calendar turns to the final page

it is this cup of tea on the windowsill

and this brief afternoon light

that warm your hands.

The pot of basil dividing your tea from your cookie

makes you wonder if next year will be better,

or if we are harvested and pruned forever.

The green leaves probably hold some wisdom

about new growth and possibility,

but the sun's dance in and out of midday clouds

somehow feels more true.