Between the Bed and the Window

First, the light, which is always
perfect if it’s arriving
from the sky, at this moment
indirectly from the east,
reflected off the banked clouds
in the window and making
the dim bedroom visible
including my feet, having
followed the familiar arc
from under the wool blanket
to oak floor, so each morning
the initial view faces
toward the north, just as it was
when I was a child, northward
to Boston with silvery
prop-jets descending over
my town of gray granite steps.
The light which lets one abide,
noticing the small details
such as the plastic vial
of pills knocked off the nightstand
and the novel beside it
on the floor, the dust cover
with its drawing of faces,
the bookmark fallen from place.
And just as you can get lost
among imaginary
people living in Peru,
you may risk losing your hold
on the world when bearing down
faithfully on the objects
between the bed and window,
in fact you may disappear,
like the child who wandered far
all the way to the shipyard
and stood by the great gateway
as the early morning shift
passed through to Old Colony
Avenue and the late shift
entered.  Was there a single
portrayal or tale of himself
he hadn’t had to annul?
He had vanished, having paid
close attention. A presence
makes a transit between warmth
of sleep and sounds in the street.
Between the bed and window
he notices the fine dust
on the sill. He isn’t there.




Ron Slate’s The Incentive of the Maggot, his first book of poems, was published by Houghton Mifflin. The collection was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle poetry prize and the Lenore Marshall Prize of the Academy of American Poets. The collection won the Bakeless Poetry Prize (Breadloaf Writers Conference) and the Larry Levis Reading Prize of Virginia Commonwealth University. The Great Wave, his second book, was published by Houghton. Ron and his daughter Jenny Slate co-wrote a memoir, About The House, via the generosity-based publisher Concord Free Press, helping to raise more than $250,000 for non-profit organizations in the USA and abroad.

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