Alex Chambers


All Those Mornings

Leaving the house
I had planned to pick up some bread
But a winter squall came up and I was tossed
Into the clouds and rained off the South Carolina coast.
As I left I was going to say God bless,
But you were on the ladder hanging mistletoe and the hole
In the left heel of your vermilion stocking
Caused once again the lusting song of shepherds and tabors
To spring from my inarticulate step.
I meant to trim the arbor vitae,
But the hedge-clippers were complaining of overuse.
I take such exclamations seriously. I gave them a rest.
Before dawn, with a ton of luggage,
I was blinded by a great and sudden light.
I refocused and climbed into the cab.
Leaving the house,
I paid our taxes.
Leaving the house,
I ended up on the street.
I walked down the front steps, waving Goodbye and goodbye,
And in the rear window of my darkest glasses
You raised to your ear the telephone in Paris, saying Yes,
my pet—milk, prosciutto, and the ripest of the treetops.
When I shut the door with a click
A manatee paddled up to offer a lift in his pellucid bark.
It took us to Shutesbury and Timbuktu. Not until I sang the ache
And burn in my heart for your busy breast and cheek
Did it call navigation and take me to work.
Leaving the house, I bumped
Into an old girlfriend.
We opened a joint account.
On the concrete walk I ran out
Of batteries and toppled over,
One leg twitching skyward.
The Bolsheviks came by with their hoes and petitions. I signed
One and took up the other. We seized control
Of the means of production before catching the westbound bus.
As I left the house,
I felt inexplicably refreshed.
The crowds swept me up.
The desert put me down.
I gathered a posy of rhododendron
And bottled a catch of fish.
I pocketed a song from the queen of Siam.
I walked the ocean back.

past simple home