You know how sometimes in the morning
You definitely do not want to get up, and yet
You do not want to lie in bed much more
When you are no longer asleep?
At such times, your mind may intrude, not
Leaving you alone. “Unhappy” may be a word
It brings to you, though you did not know
You were unhappy, before.
That is how this particular woman felt
Yesterday morning. Lying abed
Past eight o’clock, she started to think,
“I feel so alone.” Then she corrected the thought:
“No, that is not true. It is not that I feel
Alone, because now I realize
I am not the only one who feels alone.
Many, many people feel alone.’”
And she began to list words which sounded
Like “alone.” Loneliness. Aloneness.
And a word she had come across in a dictionary,
A word new to her and, she supposed, to most:
“Onliness.” Finding that little-used word,
She had felt – or thought she felt –
Less lonely. It seemed to say
Being alone was not, in itself, necessarily bad.
Continuing to supply lonely-sounding words
Or almost lonely-sounding ones, her mind gave the woman
Something so strange, it astounded her: “Katina Paxinou.”
Katina Paxinou – she hardly knew who that was.
Then she recalled the Greek actress who played Pilar
In For Whom The Bell Tolls with Cooper and Bergman.
Amazed at the seeming meaninglessness of that,
She got up and started her day a little less alone.
Poems by Jonathan Bracker have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry Northwest, Southern Poetry Review, and other periodicals, and in eight collections, the latest of which, from Seven Kitchens Press, is Attending Junior High.