Before the news
by Rebecca Fass, Westchester County, NY

A number of days ago, I read an obituary of the poet Molly Brodak, who sadly committed suicide on March 8th, in The New York Times. I had never read any of her poems before and was very struck by the one included:

In the Morning, Before Anything Bad Happens

The sky is open
all the way.
Workers upright on the line
like spokes.
I know there is a river somewhere,
lit, fragrant, golden mist, all that,
whose irrepressible birds
can’t believe their luck this morning
and every morning.
I let them riot
in my mind a few minutes more
before the news comes.

The poem expressed my feelings about the morning. I have been an early riser my whole life. I enjoy being up before anyone wakes, making a cup of tea and opening my computer to see what has happened while I was asleep, reading and writing emails. I like being out in a city before most people are up and out, or sitting in the sun before the rest of the house wakes up.  

In the Age of Trump, these routines have been severely altered. I know it is terrible for quality sleep, but I can’t help myself—when I awake at three in the morning, I open The New York Times on my phone. Each day, the news gets worse and worse.

My son shares my fondness for the early morning hours, unlike my husband and daughter, who think my fondness for them is a little crazy. But those quiet hours always seemed to me to be a hopeful time, the time before the really shitty things happen. I miss that early morning optimism. I guess now there is no time “…before the news comes.”

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