Wake and Wonder (After Raymond Carver)

Kami Westhoff


Some bird, I’ve no idea what kind, was really at it this morning. 
It woke me and for a couple minutes I just lay still. Cherry trees
were raunchy with blossom, air thick with their Choose me
My pillow was just right, the cat and I were an unquoted quote. 
The moon, neither full nor flitting, was like a stamp of itself
in the lightening sky.

When I was a child, I always woke long before anyone else. 
If I got out of bed, I knew my mother would hear the floor
crick and crack, and my doorknob clunk. She would get up
to make me soft-boiled eggs, tops sawed off so I could dip
in strips of buttered toast, pour me cranberry juice, herself coffee,
then sit with me. I didn’t get it then, I just wanted dump cheerios
into a bowl and watch cartoons, but I know now what a gift
it was for her to wake at whatever hour and just sit
with her beautiful mess of a child, watch my mouth open
for the yolky toast, lift the juice and let it stain. 

The bird eventually shut up, but by then I was wide awake. 
A car door slammed and the cat bolted. My mother, who can
no longer remember how to boil an egg, wakes and wonders
why I'm not there. My daughters crawl into my bed, their mouths
stumbling with demands until I flip back the covers
and get to fixing breakfast. 


Kami Westhoff’s work has appeared in various journals including Carve, Meridian, Third Coast, Passages North, The Pinch, West Branch, and Waxwing. 


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