4:30 a.m. wakes me, he’s been drinking again
regret and helplessness bitter on his breath
he wants to whisper failures to me
recount the hopeless situation we’re in
together we stare at the window, watch the sun
as she rises, bright-faced and expectant
she does not want to see me shake my head
cannot bear to hear me say, “No change.”
I stoop and gather my tools — my tired smile,
my well-worn positive outlook, my dog-eared
affirmations slipped into a faded denim
shoulder bag, ready for another day
of waiting in limbo for your phone call
when the line rings like a distant echo,
I draw the smile over my face, positive outlook
ready – though limp in my fidgeting hands
I listen as you tell me so little, ask you
as I do every day, for a news report
on our crisis. You offer a weather forecast:
cold and foggy, mostly cloudy, unclear.
I smile, and then nod.
I wish I’d gotten more sleep.