The room in which I start sobbing again and wonder
if my sobs will hurt the baby inside me, and the room
in which I hope so, a room made entirely of a window.
The room of my husband’s goodnight,
which is a room in a large municipal building with Styrofoam ceilings
where lines must be formed so forms can be signed, a room
surrounded by parking lots, and he knocks opening its door
and says, You can’t be this sad for the next five months—it’s not tenable.
The room overlooking the perfectly circular hole
in our street that’s at least ten feet deep and no neighbor
knows when it appeared or if there’s a reason.
The room in which instead of eating dinner
I drive for hours past porches where women with voices
like hammered fenders call out baseball scores
into the peeled blue air that will not link itself to a season.
The room in which a man the color of sand
stands on a median toward the end of dusk with a sign saying
he has children and will do anything
and the room of the cars before lights turn green.
The room in which we are filled with longing
like a wave too large. Do you see me is what we can’t
find words to ask.
The room in which a new student shows up
for my poetry class for formerly homeless people who are mentally ill
and she has my mother’s smile.
The room in which so many women
have my mother’s smile: women entering restaurants, women
standing at counters with handfuls of change.
The room of the dream in which the baby
is my mother and I am the vent between steam and the street.
The room in which I tell my father,
I miss Mom so much I can’t think about her and the room in which
he answers back, Me too, lit as it is by the end of dusk and the cars
passing through when the stoplights turn; now the man’s sign drops, I’ll
The room in which my father is living
with a woman younger than I am and the room in which he is my father
and the corridor between them down which no one walks, and Do you see me,
Yes I see you, and Do you see me, No I’m lonely,
and the room of my seventy-year-old father
and his seventy-year-old friends pretending to trip each other and laughing,
and the room in which they’re invisible, age like the white ceiling
and white walls, the window dissolved to a water-shaped memory of touch.
The room in which I ask the no-longer-homeless woman
what the poem about kindness is about and she says it’s about anger,
says this with my mother’s smile, the smile of my mother’s illness
that could have decimated grown men in agreement with each other, and did.
The room in which the woman’s smile
becomes an ordinary moth that lifts off the table and slips through a hole
in the star-cracked slats of the ceiling’s foam—Are we sharing a space,
do you see me.
The room of the water-shaped tenable.
The room in the house, the lit room upstairs, books on the shelves
by the window, the room we drive by in the nighttime, someone inside.