The dark and the damp.

I am in the fast process of losing all my temporal moorings. Today has been one of those days: grading and writing almost exclusively, passing crazed e-mails back and forth but feeling, in the end, as though I've been talking to people all day long. The poems I'm producing are strange, and some are sad. The papers I'm grading are, fortunately, neither strange nor sad.

A friend of mine lost his grandfather just over a year ago, and my grandfather's birthday would have been today, and so I will tell you a tiny story about sweet grandfathers, before I plunge back into my work.

My grandfather kept a honey bear in my grandparents' yellow kitchen on Cadieux Avenue. My favorite food to eat on Cadieux Avenue--even more than fresh apple pie, maybe even more than fresh raspberries--was toasted bakery bread with sesame seeds on top, buttered and honeyed. I sat in the kitchen with my back to the giant world-band radio, facing the windows to the driveway and the street. My grandfather sat across the table. He put the bread in the chrome toaster. I ate slab after slab of buttered and honeyed bread. Now, I would slug back cup after cup of freshly percolated coffee, too, but I didn't acquire that taste until after we were no longer dining in that kitchen. He knocked the seeds and crumbs into the trash and saved the paper plates for the next day's breakfast. The honey bear had a coneheaded hat. There was always a honey bear. He made sure that I had a honey bear. And now I always have a honey bear. This weekend, the honey bear came to school with me because I have come down with an end-of-semester cold and honey in my tea is ideal. Doesn't the bear look as though he knows things you should know?

After days of warmth and sun, tonight the rain began, making me even more glad of the honey bear and all associated warm things. Like that bed I will reach soon, but probably not soon enough.