On waking, I am sure

I have mislaid something needful
in my sleep. Not my sorrows,
kindergarteners queued to board

a bus. They file in, and I tap
the part in each one’s hair. Not love.
A man lies beside me, forearm

shielding his eyes, a shepherd unable
to withstand the angel armed
with strange radiance, strange news;

my sons’ voices purl below: alto
conspiracies, falsetto glees; and I feel
the fullness of the discontiguous

country where my dear ones live—
less a few who sleep under its orchards.
I check: my second memory

has not forced the first from office.
On waking, I am sure of loss,
nightgown billowing, a clothespin

on either shoulder, but what
I was calling from the dream’s side door:
I no longer know its name.

Jane Zwart teaches at Calvin University, where she also co-directs the Calvin Center for Faith & Writing. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, The Southern Review, Threepenny Review, TriQuarterly, and Ploughshares, as well as other journals and magazines.

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