This week’s poem is a kind of aubade, a poem that comes out of the early morning. The classic aubade involves two lovers who don’t want to separate after a night together, but here we have a speaker who doesn’t want to leave behind the sensory experience of a vacation. She has – literally and figuratively – stripped herself bare and contemplates what is left. With its extra space, back and forth lines, and thick language, this poem asks to be read slowly.

Megan Grumbling is the author of “Booker’s Point,” which won the Vassar Miller Prize and a Maine Literary Award.


By Megan Grumbling

In a San Juan hotel.

The last dawn, waking bare, I bide my rise

awhile, dream of the window, one last lean

over the alley glazed in tempest blue

below. Strange, I only know vertigo

piecemeal, by proxy: thoughts not of my whole

form falling, but my glasses, my room key.

Gone soon from glaze-blue and this dizziness,

this reel of lives I’d quench by rum and lime

and red criolla’s keel, my bearings will

return-though dreaming still, seems I might stay

the settling if when I rise from these sheets,

go to the window’s wrought iron rail and lunge

my chest over the tiles, I feel the swoon

despite myself-how sure I am how strong

the rail, how bare of all the things that fall.

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc is Portland’s poet laureate. Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2011 Megan Grumbling. It appeared in the Cimarron Review, Winter 2011, and appears here by permission of the author. For an archive of all the poems that have appeared in this column, go to

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