Dreams draw near at dawn and then recede even if you beckon them. They loom like demons you tug by the tail to examine from up close and then let fly away. Their colors at once brighter and less bright than you remembered, they hover and insinuate all day at the corner of your eye.
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When my son was a few weeks old,
replicas of his yawning face appeared
suddenly on drowsy passersby:
middle-aged man’s gape that split his beard,
old woman on a bus, a little girl—
all told a story that I recognized.
Now he is fifteen.
As my students shuffle in the door
of the classroom, any of the boys
could easily be him—
foot-dragging, also swaggering a little,
braving the perils of a public space
by moving in a wary little troop.
But the same sleepy eyes, the same soft face.
We recognize the people whom we love,
or love what we respond to as our own,
trusting that one day someone
will look at us with recognition.
Born on November 8, 1948, Rachel Hadas is the author of numerous books of poetry, essays, and translations, including Halfway Down the Hall: New & Selected Poems (Wesleyan University Press, 1998), which was a finalist for the 1999 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize.