It was a kind of pressure — waiting
In bed, lying there, wondering was that
A light or did I dream it
And should I get up and check
Or wait it out

Like I did last year
And it turned out it wasn't a dream
Because when she didn't come home
I waited on the porch
And it was a kind of longing —
But not really, it was more
Of a knowing
And here I was again

But it was summer now
And easier because the days were longer
And that's a lie
Because the days were longer
It took longer to think through,
Longer to remember the day she stood at the sink
And said, you know, I pictured something different

And it's largely been
Me since then, wondering why some days
The trees look so encouraging
And some days so accusing
— we never drew those in school —
Especially the big leaning maple,
Leaning over the porch
Over my bed
Over that dream
Where she stands on the porch and says
I was just kidding.

Maples don't lie like men do, though,
And this one in particular stands so tall
And so aloof
It's the first tree I've ever been mad at, really,
Because it knows I've peed out here in the dusk
And sneaked a smoke
And stood in the dark
I know, I know, me too.

Michael R. Moore
MICHAEL R. MOORE worked in North Carolina tobacco fields, served in the Marine Corps, dispatched tow trucks, worked in refugee centers, and in department stores as a "loss prevention" detective. He now teaches. This is his first published poem.

The Adirondack Review
The St. Lawrence Book Award
The St. Lawrence Book Award
The St. Lawrence Book AwardThe St. Lawrence Book AwardThe St. Lawrence Book Award
The St. Lawrence Book Award