Friends Dropping By

Their faces seem dark,
for I have been lost in the work
and for a moment cannot find my way back:
my hands shake slightly
from gripping the tool.

Coming from a place where
talking is the order of the day,
they settle in,
ears and mouths glittery with expectation.

I can serve cold tea and almonds,
I can move between the rooms
and F. can smile at them—
the afternoon light lifts gold strips
across our faces—
we can form a slight but warming circle
around the floor

and they can leave,
laughing lightly and slamming car doors,
blowing off toward the dropped sun:

we stand back from the windows,
listening to the roses scratch against the house
and to the rustlings of the cat
far down the hall.

He moves first to start the rice.
I have found a new opening
in the wall,
the source perhaps of the faint ribbon of cold air
which drifted in all winter.

:: Carol Cox, Woodworking and Places Nearby (1979)

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