For years, my writing desk faced west.
In the morning, I watched the Episcopal Church
lay the shadow of its cross on the parking lot,
double-parked among the all-night permit holders.
As the sun rose it withdrew its blessing
to the middle of the street, crossing the traffic,
a smudge of ash thumbing penitential hoods.
The steeple at noon stood shadowless like the needle
of a gauge, showing the day half-empty.
In those first days of school, I often pushed
my shadow down the sidewalk like an empty stroller,
or spent long hours watching the cross’s shadow
wade against the current of the sun, waiting
to receive my own belated blessing. But now
my desk faces east, and in the morning I watch
other children waiting at the corner for the bus to come
like a clumsy vanishing act, leaving nothing but
a wisp of exhaust and a mother who looks both ways
before she walks her own long shadow across the street.
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