Meditation: On Change

What was it like again, what were my thoughts
as I sat nearly two decades ago in the kitchen

of my dead father’s house, handwritten notes
on index cards spread out on the table, landline

phone in the middle, waiting to be interviewed
for a job halfway around the world? I mean

I knew it was a job interview, but what
were the risks as I felt them then, sitting

an hour before midnight with an afghan
around my shoulders, a storm raging outside,

praying that the power wouldn’t go out?
It was noon where my unseen interrogators

gathered in a meeting room for the conference
call, with questions about my experience,

probing my visions for translating the ideals
of a multiethnic and literary education

into concrete teaching plans. The battery-
powered clock ticked on the wall; my nerves

skittered wild beneath my collarbone. The sense
of a future and how it might fold— such

high stakes, though I couldn’t yet imagine them,
nor see at all beyond the rain-streaked window-

panes. No one else heard this performance
in my childhood home— everyone was in bed:

my daughters, my mother nursing a hot
water bottle for warmth. Near the end

of an hour, I put the phone down. I’d made
my pitch, whatever that meant; filled in

as best as I could the parts they needed
to see more closely. How to sleep thereafter

for wondering how the river stays the same,
though the waters pouring into it are always

changing; how everything had already
begun to change though everything still

seemed the same. How around us, neighborhoods
breathed though quietened by unrelenting rain.

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