Late at night, splashing my face and neck,
through sounds of water running
I hear cruel cuts
like pencil points fine sharpened
snapping against a smooth white page.
Quick rinsing, covered now
and tense, all stiff,
peering alarmed from broken privacy,
I for a moment harden,
with nor one clue,
against the senseless cutting,
like a writer stopped mid-page,
pulled meanly up by pencil snaps
that break the flow of words.
Then looking up I hear the rain
and see the skylight dark and clear,
with brilliant heavy drops, like lovely marbles
bouncing free and poured with all delight,
dozens at once,
from some delighted boy’s young store.
All stiffness melts
as sounds of that night’s rain
come to my hearing not to cut,
or stop, snap, break,
but only to delight,
to enter soften pull
toward freshness of a wide wet night
outside my own small washing.
Clean, uncovered now,
I lie beneath the skylight
full of fullness,
as a writer full of story
leans to a clean white page,
dozens of sharpened pencils
ready at his hand.