Dorianne Laux was born in Augusta, Maine, on January 10, 1952. She worked as a sanatorium cook, a gas station manager, a maid, and a donut holer before receiving a B.A. in English from Mills College in 1988.
Except for the rise and fall of a thin sheet
draped across your chest, you could be dead.
Your hair curled into the pillow.
Arms flung wide. The moon fills our window
and I stand in a white
rectangle of light. Hands crossed
over empty breasts. In an hour
the moon will lower itself. In the backyard
the dog will bark, dig up his bone
near the redwood fence. If we could have had
children, or religion, maybe sleep
wouldn’t feel like death, like shovel heads
packing the black earth down.
Morning will come because it has to.
You will open your eyes. The sun
will flare and rise. Chisel the hills
into shape. The sax player next door
will lift his horn and pour
music over the downturned Vs of rooftops,
the tangled ivy, the shivering tree,
giving it all back to us as he breathes:
The garden. The hard blue sky. The sweet
apple of light.