When the telephone rang,

whether early morning or

mid-afternoon, she was the

one who answered, and took

care to sound exactly as

though she’d just woken from

napping. It colors the

sleeping child’s imagination.

I’ve said that time designs the

ornament that suits it, and

this has everything to do with

how a life gets organized for

love. Similarly, the stack of

papers disappeared from the

table before anyone could

reasonably have filed them,

but who would steal a stack of

blank forms printed on

recycled paper. But if activity

is irritation. Think of the tiny

bush bird. It isn’t coffee, it’s

tea. In the afternoon heat my

thoughts drift, I think of

friends far away, struggle to

focus on the movement of my

children away from, towards,

and upon me where I sit in a

green lawn chair, listening to

the screen door slam






Andy Stallings lives, teaches, and coaches cross country running at Deerfield Academy in Western Massachusetts. His first book of poems, To the Heart of the World, came out with Rescue Press in 2014, and other poems from Paradise can be found around the internet.