What happened to today? Where did it go?
The raindrops dot the window and roll down.
One taps the glass, another, three at a time,
warping the view of black tree limbs and sky.
Long hush, quick crescendo. Wind leans on the sash.
Behind me in the shadows sleep two cats.
Nearby, like something small deposited
tenderly by a big wind on the bed,
my wife sleeps deeply through the afternoon.
The sky is gray. What color is the sky?
Rhinoceros? Volcanic dune? Moon dust?
Breast of a mourning dove? Gray butterfly?
Blank newsprint. There’s no news, no news at all,
and will be none,
until, at long last, in the other room,
one light comes on, and then another one.
For weeks, the heavy white ceramic bowl
he left out back lay tilted to one side.
But then one morning it had been put right.
Was it the possum, called down late at night
by hunger from some bony treetop? No.
The possum only ever tipped it over.
But when a small bird perched to drink from it,
he laughed, remembering all night long the rain
dashing across the gutters and the roof.
The bowl was full. The rain had righted it.
This man was not like others. Others work,
others have plans. Nobody knew his plans.
We watched him at the market or the park,
making his way without us, without friends.
That night, his sheepdog didn’t growl or bark.
The door was open. He didn’t raise his hands.
This man was proud, and different, and withdrawn,
too quietly, in his own way, outside town.
I saw it. I put
the razor down,
looked at my foot,
and saw it there.
I lowered my head,
looked down from the mirror
and, in the moment
saw it there:
floor to toe,
toe to floor,
saw it go
into the gloom
at the edge of my room.
JOSHUA MEHIGAN’s poems have appeared in many periodicals, including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and Poetry, which awarded him its 2013 Levinson Prize. His second book, Accepting the Disaster, was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux this year.