On a visit to my parents,
sleeping in what is and isn’t
my adolescent bedroom,
I wake to sunlight filtered
through mist-covered windows.
I know the view of lake and trees
through slatted Venetian blinds
so well I hardly need to see it;
yet the veil of condensation
changes my focus—to
the room itself, and me within it.
This bed is not my bed,
and it faces east, not south,
so perspective too has changed.
But the four walls are the same
white paneling, and now, as then,
they contain me only partially,
though I never escape them fully.
The carpet has faded to greenish gold,
but a patch of it once covered by furniture
retains the spring green of its, and my, youth.
A school trophy, a stuffed-toy fox,
a box containing my high school ring
remain where I left them on a shelf,
dustier now, but still intact.
Within a glass-fronted bookcase,
added after the removal
of my piano, rest books and other
memorabilia once treasured,
now kept like artifacts in an historical museum
because no one has thought to remove them.
The same room, transformed,
and I technically the same person,
transmogrified into someone
who barely recognizes himself.
Some changes are merely superficial,
those of age—the beard, the
reduced elasticity of the skin,
the even worse eyesight.
Some grow deep: tangled vines
of sexuality and religion,
intellect and emotion,
ambitions and fears,
aspects of self I lack
the vocabulary to name.
For three or four minutes,
I lie propped on my elbows,
myopic eyes scanning the room,
mind muddling through abstraction,
and then I rise, put my glasses on,
and head downstairs.
T. Allen Culpepper