What you did wasn’t so bad.
You stood in a small room, waiting for the sun.
At least you told yourself that.
I know it was small,
but there was something, a kind of pulped lemon,
at the low edge of the sky.
No, you’re right, it was terrible.
Terrible to live without love
in small rooms with vinyl blinds
listening to music secretly,
the secret music of one’s head
which can’t be shared.
A dream is the only way to breathe.
But you must
find a more useful way to live.
I suppose you’re right
this was a failure: to stand there
so still, waiting for—what?
When I think about this life,
the life you led, I think of England,
of secret gardens that never open,
and novels sliding off the bed
at night where the small handkerchief
of darkness settles over
Reprinted from Sun in Days by Meghan O'Rourke. Copyright © 2017 by Meghan O'Rourke. Used with permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.