Barbara Daniels
Six A.M.

I'm thin in the blade of a knife,
curved in the bowl of a spoon. I lick
the fingers I've slathered with jam.

The old need sleep, yet they're up early,
ravenous, asking for sweet rolls
and coffee. Nightbirds shrieked

down my chimney, wrenched me
to wakefulness, bursting my dream.
Look out at the silvered darkness,

bareness in trees, gray leaves on wet
asphalt. You were right about pain.
It's like boredom—long days, soft

at their centers, nothing to do.
It's the season of shadows. I eat
my fruit cup, spitting the seeds,

bearing the sour taste of rind. I love
diners, these radiant churches. Of course
we want objects the eyes can desire.

Whipped cream drifts on sumptuous
cakes, last night's remainders
quietly spinning on lunar trays.

And my dream? I toppled gallons
of paint in the garage where
Mr. Rowenhorst hung himself.

I couldn't clean up the whiteness.
Don't you remember his wife,
years after, sweeping the leaves?