Late In Coming

By Peter Halstead

My favorite part of email
Is ‘History,’ in knowing where
It’s been, in picking back
Selectively through the litany
Of stops and whims, the way
That dreams themselves can
Arbitrarily pick a moment,
Skipping fifty years like that,
To create a room, the dread,
The guilt of waking in my childhood bed,
The sheets and walls and doors
So real even now,
If suspiciously more spacious,
Like roofless movie sets
Through which a camera travels
In a trance, never bumping into chairs
Or tumbling down those misplaced stairs,
But focusing, with the perfect memory
Of film, on the scared and startled
Half-lit heart, pulling back the covers
To reveal, in a sudden click of time,
The assembled thrills of childhood, house,
And baby mind, complete with distant parents.
Morning cold, the fear of school, the wound
Of my isolated wing, terror breathing
On the roof outside and, somehow, empty
Moonlight falling everywhere
But on the door, where the whole long house
Is airbrushed out, and even memory won’t go.