On Awakening

Even if no one comes
and there is only
the sun’s inflamed eye
rolling round to remove this speck
of our Earth from its orb—
I open the double doors to my porch
on a July morning and greet the faded poinsettia
that refuses to give up the last of its color.
There are birds hidden in hedgerows,
a few late bloomers, overgrown grass.
What is the message summer sends
to sunken cement that dried long ago
with a stranger’s initials?
Nineteenth century pianissimo
floats across the lawn.
Here is an almost empty cup
with which I toast the household god—
supple animal of the unblinking eye
who owned these premises more than I.

Maxine Cassin
from her book Against the Clock
Portals Press, 2003
Used with permission of the poet’s estate.

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