Poems & Essays

13 Aug

Poem before I wake up (son light)

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I write poems that are gone the moment before I wake up
I rise and step over strewn toys with tired eyes
And begin a day
With bills to pay
laundry to fold
dishes to dry
And I forget the verses written behind sleep
In the light of subconscious sight

When I bemoan my lost poems over breakfast
My sister reminds me that she’s written music in her dreams
Fully orchestrated notes for winds and strings
That only she will see
Simple perfect melodies with lyrics that rival JT
Songs that no one else will sing

And I wonder if in real life I’ll ever do anything as big as perfect as these poems these
songs these symphonies

And I pull frozen meatballs from the bag and arrange them in rows for the oven

And I dry your plastic lunch box
The one with robots
And get lost in the mechanics
Of morning

And then I hear a sound
An escaped whimper
The start of your day
And as I flip on the light in the nursery and stand on the chevron rug I had pictured here
in this room before you were born
you my little poem are right there
My best thing
Staring up at me

And I carry you from crib to kitchen in arms that folded themselves around nothing but
dreams a moment ago
And you reach out
Wanting a banana that browns in a bowl
A vintage bowl that you broke yesterday in a toddler fit
A bowl I bought before you were born
Before you took form
Before the sun light
Before I awoke
And wrote you.



Cady Burkhart is teacher, mother, and sister living on the outskirts of Los Angeles. She thinks that ‘outskirts’ is a very cool word. Her life has been lived mostly on the outskirts: as a queer woman, single mom by choice, identical twin, and disillusioned daughter. She is happy that every day brings a new beginning.

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