This morning, I pulled on my wool socks

Dug out of a box on the shelf, a hope in vain

To hamper the damp Oregon chill,

This ever-present, wet weight seeping in

Through my open window.

 

I fitted each foot into a sock,

A cloud of dust releasing from the heel,

And I saw hanging in the air the dirt of steps taken months ago

In that bright one-bedroom apartment

Carved out of an old house in New York

Where we made a married life –

Carpooled, cooked, cuddled, and cried,

And dared to tease some excitement into the doldrums

Of daily life.

 

We would hop in our bed that first winter, you and I,

And shriek at the cold slab of concrete under our backs

And feet, the stone tablet pillows, and I would beg

You to grab the wool socks from the bureau

On your side. The chilled wooden

Floorboards were not much colder than our bed,

But you made a show for me, the yelp

Like a dog’s when you got back under the covers.

 

Darling, I wanted you to know

I’m doing fine. I read until my eyes can’t see, I sleep until I can’t, and I write

Until the end. My professors seem to think it’s enough

But I know it’s never enough.

 

I wanted you to know

the song of the scrub jay. It’s a strange alarm clock

Compared to our robins at home.

 

I wanted you to know the morning coffee I make is not as good

As the lunchtime coffee we sipped from a shop, a shared prayer

To make it through the work day.

 

I wanted you to know upstairs neighbors

Walk on their heels here, too, and I wanted you to know

The bed is cold.