Rita Dove


She wanted a little room for thinking: 
but she saw diapers steaming on the line,
a doll slumped behind the door. 

So she lugged a chair behind the garage
to sit out the children's naps

Sometimes there were things to watch-- 
the pinched armor of a vanished cricket, 
a floating maple leaf. Other days 
she stared until she was assured 
when she closed her eyes 
she'd only see her own vivid blood.

She had an hour, at best, before Liza appeared 
pouting from the top of the stairs.
And just what was mother doing 
out back with the field mice? Why, 

building a palace. Later 
that night when Thomas rolled over and 
lurched into her, she would open her eyes 
and think of the place that was hers 
for an hour--where 
she was nothing, 
pure nothing, in the middle of the day.