SABBATICAL - a memory
Predawn gray creeps in the empty room.
Book shelves lie bare, waiting for renters' books;
gone are the family photographs, mementos,
locked away in the crowded basement room.
Our personalities obliterated,
familiar windows, corners grow strange.
Suitcase forms emerge in growing light
next to the travelling clothes hung on a chair.
Even the mattress lacks its sheets and spread;
we sleep like displaced persons, refugees,
ready to roll our sleeping bags and go.
Only a scent remains (our aura?) to hint
that we use garlic, lavender and wax.
And am I sad to leave? No, I am ready,
my mind outdistancing the throbbing plane,
my skin anticipating balmy air,
my nose - dark coffee, pungent herbs, ripe fruits.
Last night I dreamed in Portuguese.
My husband, Dr. Otto. J. M. Smith was professor at
U. C. Berkeley, and our sabbatical leaves took us to
many countries, but Brazil was one that we returned to
again and again, and whose language I had studied
and knew well.