Incessant, the two notes of the kitchen
clock. The hum of appliances at rest.
Too early for the street sounds on our block.
The chair creaks a complaint. I take the first
careful sip of coffee. And Niko says, “Sweet
little bird,” from his covered cage. He wants
to greet the dawn. Not me. A workday, so I woke
to the phone’s bleat, to dark and chill and her
still gone. I wanted to stay in the warm,
strange scenes of dreams: on Rue Royale, a green
and purple mask; or, dodging heavy traffic,
a small gray cat I caught and calmed against
my heart—its frantic tick-tock winding down,
this clock that keeps best time without alarm.