I used to commute, rushing through morning to spend
an hour jostling with a hundred strangers on a train.
Now I commute just a few well-traveled feet
from bed to bath to kitchen,
drawing out the morning ritual
always in the same order:
fill the kettle,
make the bed, light the lamps
tasks timed to the boiling pot.
When the kettle sings, pour it on the grounds.
The first cup gives me time to open the shades and let the day in.
The second drains as I brush my teeth,
the last while I dress,
before pouring out a mugful
and taking the steaming brew
into the garden, to see what’s growing
and how cold it is this morning.
Can I see my breath? Is there frost?
Even in the rain, with my hand over the cup
so the downpour doesn’t dilute the hot coffee.
Evening rituals take me home, that is
from my desk in the spare room
to kitchen to bath to bed.
Clear the desk and the dishes,
straighten the house, brush and wash
and put on nightclothes,
check the heat, turn back the covers.
Climb into bed to read while the day settles out of my brain.
Say some words to the close and holy darkness,
With thanks to Dylan Thomas’ A Child’s Christmas in Wales for one of my favorite phrases in literature. Who can spot it?