When I woke up
Jean Valentine

When I woke up, our time was lost.  No standing
in physics.    the unconscious.

I washed our friends’ old rug
and laid it across the table.
the river was shining, silver as a plough.

Your friend, Natasha, the lame girl, lame dancer now,
walking ahead, held back her hand
to you on the street:

Come on, I’ve got the rug

And you said:

Where did I put you
down dear?  The world is worse
but I can hear your heart so steady.     Louder.

Someone taken.     Beating a rug.


Jean Valentine was born in Chicago and lives in NYC, where she has taught for about 45 years. She has published eleven books of poetry, most recently Break the Glass, published by Copper Canyon Press.

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