Gathering Shadows By the bay window at dawn, shabby robe, watching the sun-catcher spin, crossword completed, obituaries under my coffee cup. I am tempted to step into the garden, pick a rose to place behind my ear like the flamenco dancers in Barcelona did— perhaps this is my own memory. Who knows? The phone seldom insists, and then unexpected as the hammering of the MRI, and rarely with better news. My phone book gathering shadows, my name not yet struck through. Autumn stretches into afternoon Neufchatel, saltines and lemonade in the garden amidst milkweed, butterfly cocoons all empty, all fled. I won’t permit myself the bed this early there will be plenty of that. The clock announces midnight, two am, four am, each toll a ladder rung, uneasy slumber serving only to divide the pills of bedtime from those of morning. Daybreak, and I dwell again on deadened hours I worked a lifetime to hoard, expecting I would thank myself in the future. What was I thinking.