New Routines

by Christine Arumainayagam
The city awakens to the rumbling 
of highway traffic in the distance. 
Sunlight pours in, slanted, 
groping, and fills this house 
with shadows that rotate 
in sync with the minute hand 
on the grandfather clock. It chimes:
The boy in the next room yawns
and bangs his knuckles on the wall 
while he’s stretching. 
It makes you jump. 
For once the birds are quiet. 
Your heart lies in your palm, twitching, 
twitching, and it mesmerizes you 
for a moment; but then you lay it 
on the bedside table, 
pull yourself out of bed by the ankles,
and set some water to boil.