As I horn into their private lives, I stand comfortably here at my desk and stare north across the street, across the park, across the bay toward the water-treatment plant and the baked-bean factory. The cat sleeps on a yellow chair. On the bed behind me, sky-blue pillows and a bright white comforter are crisp and clean and fat and neat. My coffee cup is empty. Sunlight streaks the walls. The rosy buds of the begonia nod toward the light. The windowsill is lined with smooth black stones. Above my desk, a sepia ancestor stares down quizzically from the shelter of her elaborate frame. The doll-house is tidy and tiny and bright.
And now, suddenly, sentimentally, I think of Allen Ginsburg, writing in "Kaddish" of his dead mother, imagining her
looking back on the mind itself that saw an American city
a flash away, and the great dream of Me or China, or you
and a phantom Russia, or a crumpled bed that never existed—
like a poem in the dark—