6:30 a.m.
by Claudia Serea

I part the night with both hands
and surface.

Light moves across lawns,
over hydrangeas, zinnias, and yews,
light climbs the walls
and trickles inside rooms,
it tangles in curtains        
and hangs in hair.

This ray has traveled 93 million miles
only to find
your unshaven face.

Light moves
over sleeping lovers’ bodies.

Over dry skin
and heavy breath,
it glides across the carpet

and touches my daughter’s cheek,
her bluish eyelids
still covering dreams.

The sun rises,
morning smells of coffee,
the world is plugged in,
and spins.

TV on,
64 degrees and clear skies,
Here are the headlines at this hour:

The sun rises,
light falls on the faces
of people waiting in line for the bus.

It’s a new day,
a second chance,
or third, or fourth, or fifth.

The sun rises
over the same struggle to live
and let live.

The sun climbs
over the gleaming city,
over the homeless woman curled on cardboard
guarded by her quiet dog,
over the halal street vendor
frying rice in Faith’s Lunchbox,
over dissonant scaffolding,
workers yelling,
over the man
with a jack-hammer
stammering in a cloud of dust.

The sun’s up
over the traffic cop,
over delivery men and baristas,
over steam and car fumes.

The sun rises and brings
another day,
a do-over,
a rewind and replay.

The sun rises,
and no one wants to be saved.

And light pours in rows of windows
and into the Hudson River.

Birds sing
and pull up the sun
on an invisible chain.

Here’s your chance:
take it,
grab it.

Today is my turn.

Light fills my cup to the brim,
and I drink it.

My body fills with words
that glow and burn.

The sun rises,
and I step right in.

I am transparent
and alive.

by Claudia Serea

Slide into sleep
and the house curls around you,
an animal in its warm nest
of wires and pipes,

in the colony burrowed among trees,
marshes and highways,
next to other colonies,
cities and countries
crowded and sprawling,
curled around babies
who sleep across oceans
churning the world
at high speed,

under the glint of stars
set like plates on a dark table,
in the huge kitchen of sky
that rotates around you,
floors screeching,
curtains windblown,

a dream,
it’s only a dream.

by Claudia Serea

A car rushes on the highway
carrying someone into the dark.

Night parks by the 1-hr sign.

Darkness pours from the ceiling fan
and from the stairs where someone faceless rings the bell.

Darkness drips from the blurred trees
and from the wires humming over the warehouse,

apartments where nothing ever happens.

You search for a clue, look up,
almost see it in the corner of your eye,

in the train that straddles away,
a ripple,

a quick shadow
by the hydrant glazed in light

but the black cat against the window
didn’t see anything.

You listen for voices,
press your ear to the blue rug,

the position the body was found.

The lint in the rug keeps quiet.

Mute and dumb are the lost sandal,
the drawn curtains, the lamp.



Claudia Serea is a Romanian-born poet who immigrated to the
United States in 1995.  Her poems and translations have appeared
5 a.m., Meridian, Harpur Palate, Word Riot, Blood Orange
, Cutthroat, Green Mountains Review, and many others.  
She is the author of
To Part Is to Die a Little (Červená Barva
Angels & Beasts (Phoenicia Publishing, Canada), and A
Dirt Road Hangs from the Sky
(8th House Publishing, Canada),
and the chapbooks
Eternity’s Orthography (Finishing Line Press,
2007) and
With the Strike of a Match (White Knuckles Press,
2011).  She co-edited and co-translated
The Vanishing Point
That Whistles, an Anthology of Contemporary Romanian
(Talisman Publishing, 2011).

On “6:30 a.m.,” “Sleep,” and “Noir”:
Every now and then, I write a poem like “6:30 a.m.” that
pushes and pulls in different directions.  The poem is usually
longer, with multiple parts that move independently, and the
contraption zig-zags as a whole.  I don’t know why, but I like
it when there are contradictory movements within a poem.  
It makes it more dynamic and offers surprises at every turn.  
(Can you tell I get bored easily?)  The poem can also cover a
wider range of emotions at it travels from point A to C to N
to Z.
      The other two poems in this group have a simpler
structure.  “Sleep” is inspired by my young daughter, the
center of my universe.  “Noir” is a poem in which every
image comes from an actual photo.  A couple of years ago,
my friend Sanjay Agnihotri posted on Facebook a series of
night shots titled Noir—Sequence 1.  I loved their blurriness,
the details, and the light and dark play.  I told him I was going
to write a poem inspired by the series and he loved the idea.  
The poem spontaneously came out from those photos and
hinted to a murder mystery.  It was a fun, spur-of-the-moment
collaboration, and I’m so happy to have it published here.

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 8, Number 1
(Spring 2013)

Copyright © 2013
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.