The weather was all that changed
after I lost it. I sat curled in the blue
armchair at the free library, reading Orlando.
Outside the trees lived and moved
amid the wind’s coils and autumn slipped,
day by day, toward winter. After school
I watched the fragile projection
of the film club’s silents: Mary Pickford’s slim
waist, her delicate face enclosed in a locket.
Inexpert piano and the other kids drifting off
over their homework. For months
I wore the same black tights on Tuesdays,
a snag above the left knee, and sometimes
it seemed my heart spread and stung
like a sea-creature, filling me with salt.
The sensual life whose arrival I’d awaited,
whose tenure I’d anticipated with words
like grace, was the tired old cat purring
against my chest, oatmeal and rough wool
in the morning, cool rain to my skin.