Past the coffee table, its treacherous
corners; around the hushed ottoman;
pause in front of the flickering flat screen
as if I’d stepped right out of it. My family gapes.
Past lamps and ficus, my swerves precise,
my balance impeccable. I’m on a mission
yet to be revealed. All I know is how to walk
on water, navigate a narrow channel and how
not to run up on the rocks. I have no notion
how I know. I glide; I barely touch down.
My loved ones are afraid to wake or touch me,
maybe for my sake, maybe their own.
In the morning I remember nothing, so I return
another night, and another. I learn without trying
to learn to move like a snake, a high steel worker
on vacation, a retired minesweeper. You’d swear
I know what I’m doing. You’d swear I’m hearing
instructions. I think I may grow old this way,
drifting unbruised and unrecollected, auto-pilot
supreme. Morning finds me back in bed.

David Cavanagh

DAVID CAVANAGH's recent book of poems is Straddle, from Salmon Poetry of Ireland. Earlier books include The Middleman and Falling Body, also from Salmon Poetry, and Cycling in Plato’s Cave, from Fomite Press. He lives in Burlington, Vermont.

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