Monday, October 24, 2005

thank you, world

They come and go: happiness, unhappiness, certainty, doubt. Ghost.

I’m sewing a button on an old coat. Tomorrow I board a plane for California, my new home. Tonight I sleep in my sister’s room: green walls, stuffed animals on the shelves. I am grateful for my old home, which I did not know was home until I left it. I am grateful for the rain (I had forgotten), cold (I had forgotten), gray (cannot be forgotten, but was).

Leaves I thought I would not see this year, except for a flash in Berkley; I made everyone stop on the sidewalk and see. Leaves are everywhere, on the trees, on the brick paths, on the benches, on the cars in great fistfuls, red and yellow and wet. I am so grateful for the leaves, for seeing them, for the one who walked beside me, seeing.

The coat I bought seven years ago from a store called River Island. My room mate Jen bought the one I wanted first so I settled: a gray wool peacoat with a fake fur collar. I was unhappy. It was cold. I had no money. But that coat! my room mate Steph said when I walked in the door. It looks so much like you. If you told me you’d had that coat forever, I would believe you.

Now it’s seven years. I’ve had that coat forever.

I am grateful for the coat, grateful for the dress I wore, a tight, black and white sleeveless number I have had for years and never had a reason to wear. I’m tired of waiting for reasons. I will no longer wait for them.

I am grateful for the title of my second book, which I thought of suddenly and surely, staring at the windshield, the silver rain, the parking lot. I am grateful for the resolve to finish editing my first, halfway through the second draft now, screw poetry (sorry poetry). I am grateful for my job, which isn’t a job--I’m grateful for that. For my friends I saw at the bar, and at the party, and in the parking garage, and over breakfast, and walking out in the rain with their sons, and standing at the back of the reading so I didn’t see them until I looked up after the first poem I read. For the friends I didn’t see but know are there, I know. For old students who will become new poets. For the smoke, the smell of smoke, the smell of bleach on hotel towels, the white lights, the houses, the sheets, the cold.

And for what I saw at the bookstore café, Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak in my bag, waiting for the pumpkin latte which I shouldn’t have, afternoon, what I saw out the window, what the rain suddenly changed to, what the sky gave.

Oh my gosh, I said.

No one turned from their coffee, their pages.

Look, I said.

Their backs to the window.

What I thought I would not see for two years, what I thought would never come, what is early. What I wait for, what I miss.


I am grateful for snow.