The cooing of the mourning dove
in the backyard reminds me
I should be crying. I have been
and will be but it catches me
at a bad time. I just woke up.
I was ready, honestly, to let loose
first thing but thought I’d hold off
this morning, at least until after
breakfast. So, I replace
the dove’s plaintive call with
the whistling of a tea kettle.
I bring my buttered English muffin
and clear glass mug of Earl Grey tea
to the bamboo side table in front of
the living room window and lean
forward on the wicker chair
to get a good view. At the sight
of a goldfinch, I let my heart soar.
I feel guilty about it but don’t
resist. Sunny yellow with black
and white markings, the fickle bird
does a loop around the sunflowers,
darts away, comes back, gets lost
in the petals, disappears. The dove,
faintly in the distance, reasserts
its demand that I cry my heart out,
and I know I can’t delay forever
but it can wait, I tell myself, at least
until I don’t see my reflection
in the tea anymore. The muffin
long gone, I put off, sip by sip,
finishing the lukewarm drink.
Reluctant to down the final remnants,
I stare at my blurring face in the cup
as it slowly refills drop by drop.