by Al Gabor

She lies on her back,


bare feet in the air,

ready to run the ramp of a rainbow

or balance a cloud.

Why won't you sleep? I ask.

Your big sister is in dreamland.


She rolls over,

forages for lint

under a table covered with dirty dishes

and notes to myself.


This is my life.


Not the man writing at a cabin desk

lined with books, photographs,

the skull of a coyote,

wildflowers and fossils. 


Not the man watching meteors

on the deck of a west-bound ship. 


Not the monk whose mortgage

is a hatful of snow.


I sit beside her.

Dtoe, she says,

puts her finger to her toe,

her pink nail

a shell containing oceans.



she pokes my toe,

its nail yellow as old varnish.

And it begins slowly.

The moment fills me, 

forces me to attend to it.


Dtoe, I say,

and it's rising bread,

my body's fulcrum,

the place where my soul pivots.


This is my life, I say.

            There's no one listening.

I say it again.

            This is my life.

Published in ACM , Vol 32/33