In the hour of lead, I’m standing at the sink.
The sun is scorching white outside the window.
I can’t feel my feet, my face.
I have just finished scrubbing and rinsing the last blue plate,
Setting it in its place in the rack to dry.
And now, drying off my hands,
The dense presence of my unthought life descends,
Or does it emerge,
From my gut.
The weight of the worlds I’ve borne,
But with no footholds to gain purchase or make progress.
I take my time because I do not want to face the next moment,
The moment where the empty, unstructured givenness of my life
I slowly, slowly shake the hand towel,
Flatten it against my hand,
And fold it, once, twice – I know what is coming –
And I drape it, with ponderous deliberations,
Upon its hook – here comes the turn –
I linger my fingers there.
I let go and the hour of lead begins.
I’ve nothing to do.
Nowhere to go.
No tasks left undone.
I’ve no cards to write.
My poems lie fallow.
The pit grows, its maw lazily hungry.
I step with lead feet,
Feel with lead heart,
Waiting to be led,
Waiting to be lead.