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Window Seat and Camphor Tree

In My Room #1

By Jane Tawel

April 18, 2020

*

In my room,

that I painted by my own hand

in muted shades of green and coral and tan,

In a year when I was young and trending colors intrigued me,

And my shoulders didn’t ache until evening fell

And I stirred at the stove for the children’s hour.

*

In my room

that has been nestled in this old house for a hundred years and more,

Even before my birth somewhere due east from here;

In this room

Were lives that mattered to someone else

and still sometimes seem to ghost the air here.

*

Whose faint lines are traced in long-gone breathed circles

Whispering still upon the windows here?

*

I long to kiss those tiny mouths that fogged the glass,

And grasp damp, sticky fingers, that mother once did chide,

For etching fleeting messages of love.

*

I breathe deeply in and look

from left to right and up and down

at what will never be tomorrow but

only now and now and now

creeping in this petty pace from day to day.

*

My room invites the shades of sunlight in,

allowing light to tap and pat upon

the limbs of substance hardened around my soul.

In this room,

Like bread kneaded,

I sit on the hard couch that once belonged to Grandma, hoping

To still be needed,

and I rise.

*

In my room,

My thoughts dance in moods that play like musical chair contestants.

The room is piled with books and piled-up memories;

Things I cleaned only yesterday (or maybe it was last year?).

I entertain the thought that I should

Fluff the pillows on the window seat

And look inside the lid that no one opens any more

to search for games or puzzles.

How many pieces would I find missing?

*

In my room, I hide,

Like a child who isn’t sure it’s all been just a game

— a little scared, a little giddy —

And no one can see her,

hiding behind the coats in the closet

away from the gods controlling her life.

*

And dreamlike all day long are those

who rush by my front yard, obscured

by the big, brooding camphor tree, that stands outside my room,

like a sentinel, like a goddess of ancient woods,

protecting my bunkered thoughts

and sheltering my memories,

in my room.

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