Waiting for This to Pass in the Morning

Charlotte Willis

I've been waiting for nights,
that smell of cigarettes, the salty
skin of a lover, a warm breeze filling my body
with feathers. Over there, my father's ashes,
damp and wet in his urn. I'm sure somewhere
I'm sweating with the weight of him,
all of him,
dangling from my finger tips—
somewhere at least there's a picture,
hidden under silverware in a kitchen drawer.

The small of my back collapses,
just like that, against myself. Tooth
and bone, sliver of flesh, splitting
of atoms inside me.
Cells rejuvenate every seven years
my father told me—
and so every seven years I come out
different. Now, I am a woman. My time
sits heavy in the wee hours
of morning as nightmares still wane and my body,
still wet, rises and begins again
in mourning.

As the night bears down
I'm sick with it, smoldering there—the beating
of wings against fogged glass. I'm sitting
with my back against the wall,
empty room—the boxes
already moved out, my father calling my name
like he means it.

With urgency, with Mozart playing
Symphony No. 40 in the background.

With my hands outstretched,
palms upturned,
waiting for him to release me.