Defying Me

The last couple of lines in this poem are quoting Ralph Ellison, author of Invisible ManShadow and Act, and many other works.

Dawn, through the blur
of sleep-soaked eyelashes,
greets me. I stretch, my fingertips
brushing my headboard.
This day break arrives with its
creamy oranges and yellows.
A mockingbird calls to his neighbor,
his sweet good morning filling the air.
I roll onto my side to whisper
my own good morning
into your ear, but I find a note
instead of your unshaven face.
Disheartened, I scowl
at the innocent paper and at my
whimsical fantasies. As always,
my heart lived in its own reality.
Against my initial judgment,
I cradle the flimsy paper in my palm,
its ink giving it weight like the lump
of frustration in my soul.
The words—oh, the words!—
stand erect, defying me to doubt
you and my heart.
Wait for me, it pleaded,
for I am “plunging back
into the shadow of the past
where time hovers ghostlike.”

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