Judith Harris: "Before Dawn"




The sky is a blank

flesh of no feeling.


Outside, the neighbors begin to talk

in another language,


the way mourning doves

speak among themselves.


Wait for the sun, it will entertain us.

Wait with no expectations for my mother


to rise from her grave.  Am I

standing here by my window?


When we leave the earth, we are

neither astounded nor assured.


Whatever we keep, we keep.

Wherever we appear, we disappear.



Judith Harris is the author of two books of poetry from LSU Press, Atonement and The Bad Secret, and a critical book from SUNY Press, Signifying Pain: Constructing the Self through Writing.  Her recent poems have appeared in The Atlantic, New Republic, Slate, Ploughshares, the syndicated newspaper column American Life in Poetry on five occasions, Southern Review, Antioch Review, Prairie Schooner, and Narrative Magazine.