Oriented, suddenly Aurora,
I rise without alarm in the random dark,
Already full of purpose, without coffee
Or tea, to the cat's delight, revving her pleasure.
Breakfast is a poem, light, in good measure,
A grapefruit split to reveal the spokes and rays
Of the sunburst wheels on a golden chariot.
I dress, I shake the dew drops from tips of my tresses.
It is as if I can hear them, imagined horses,
Astir in the stable, fogging the air with their breath,
Snug under blankets, awaiting the curry comb
And oats, ready to set out over the hill,
Over the sleeping city, over the sill
Of the sea, islands dribbled like pancake batter,
Knowing where I am is always East,
Always ahead of the day that's going to matter.
[A. E. STALLINGS studied Classics at the University of Georgia and at
Oxford University. Her first collection of poems, Archaic Smile
(University of Evansville) received the 1999 Richard Wilbur Poetry Award.]