‘Reveille, reveille, up all bunks,’
intercom’s voice split up morning into sharp cornered awareness.
night was just pulling away from sun, dark shedding light. it was time to get up.
her eyes met mine as she stripped the bed for the wash. we looked away. we never talked about it, we all had secrets. sometimes silence was the only privacy we knew.
intercom told all, a direct line upstairs.
so our secrets hovered, closer than the prayers we tried to pray.
‘Let’s go, let’s go. Stop lollygagging, People, Have I raised a bunch of lazybones?’
he sounded happy.
dropping all our secrets to the floor, we raced upstairs.
‘1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Let’s see. Who’s been good enough to go on a trip today?’
side by side, wall holds us all silent. we wait for judgement.
‘Well, I suppose you’ve all done well enough. Go get in the van.’
and we were driving. road to road to road, we all bend and turn in sun’s new light. green paints all the fields, they grow and grow. no one ever counts the stars, no one ever remembers the dark. sun comes back, and we all pretend dark never came.
telephone poles mark the miles, but i do not count them. he is happy. saturday suddenly felt as wide as sky’s soft blue.
‘Well,’ he says. ‘Why don’t you look around.’
and puppies were running everywhere.
there was brown, brown and white, gold and gold, four feet and barking.
‘do you mean it? pick one?’
‘Yes, yes. Hurry up, I don’t have all day.’
they ran and ran, so many small barking noises. how could i ever pick?
one puppy, wild and free raced by me. wheeling back around, he stopped, sniffed my hand, and lay down.
‘this one. i pick this one. i will call him fierce.’
‘Fine. You’d better take good care of him. Let’s go.’