Oh the gentlemen are talking in another room,
And I listen, still and silent, like the peering moon.
Shadows cross the lick of light beneath my door,
While their boots knock ditties on the wooden floor.
Through the wall I hear them singing
Of a woman who is far,
Of the march of the cossacks,
And the red eastern star.
And before my dreams will claim me
I will hear their glasses clink;
“Here’s to home, and health, and future.”
“And to me,” I think.
I edited this from the original to better reflect what I was trying to get at when I first wrote down this memory (because it’s more of a memory than a poem, for sure) – the sense of being excluded, while, at the same time, the sweetness and familiarity of these male adults in the next room.
I had originally conceptualized a poem that did not rhyme, and was a whole lot more serious and probing. But the more I thought about it – the more I realized that the sleepy subject matter should be framed as a lullaby. And so it goes.