She learned to tell time by where the shadows
place their stain on the stucco walls.
The baker’s bread will be ready as soon as the first
shapes begin to creep away from the light.
She stands in the open window and greets the day,
taking the time to breathe in the yeasty aromas
before going down for her daily share,
the fresh, crackling crust always reminding her
of the texture of the stucco walls where the shadows
mark the time of day.
When the gray shapes stretch to vertical, tips
extending to touch the street below, it is time to close
the curtains against the advance of midday heat.
Some days she braves crowds of the market,
avoiding familiar faces, on occasion she seeks out
the breezes whispering through the orchard.
Most days though, the darker spaces within her
upstairs room are as far as she will travel.
The old men and young lovers begin to gather
in the cafe when the shades are the sharpest,
mere pencil lines scratched
diagonally across the uneven wall.
She sits in her window sill, watching the wine flow
and the shuffle of dominoes, sees the lovers kiss
and hears the old men cuss. On the days when
the sun is brightest, she allows a smile to escape.
When the shadows fade, retracting to their point of origin,
is when he used to come home to their upstairs room.
for Margo Roby’s image prompt, using James Proudfoot’s Sun on a House