Today's poem is by Moira Egan

Questions Midway
Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita—Dante

A man asks terrible questions
of me: why I, who might have done
anything, wear this life I've kept on

like a shiny rayon second-hand dress,
worn not for beauty, but effect, whose roses
bloom a Pepto-Bismol effervesce.

Why have I never had a job up to my intellect?
The sky cracked open today, circumspect
no more, and I'd left home without protection.

Can we go outside and play in the rain?
How can a letter hold so much pain
that the reader re-reads and weeps again?

Driving home a little lit last night
(God protects drunks and Irish girls, right?)
this thought sideswiped me at a stoplight:

I don't believe that love can last forever.
If I had to choose between safety and danger,
Gentle Reader, can you guess the answer?

Most nights I like the bed empty,
my arms a startled parenthesis.
(But should a spinster be this greedy?)

Will I always want to wake up alone?
Tonight, awakened by the shrill of the phone,
mistaking the twilight for the dawn,

I want a voice I've never heard
to speak in a language that has no word
for sadness. When will I learn?

Copyright © 2004 Moira Egan All rights reserved
from Cleave
Washington Writers' Publishing House
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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