Things got a little stranger than usual last night:

11 November 2015


Here and Gone, Alive

Soft, as I fall quite asleep all alone, the little hands rise up and shadow the light
that wants to leak in, but I dare not attend it with anything real. I’m all watchful insight;
the clock wants to fly all around, every this way and that, till its hands tell the time they first bore
when they were a fine pair of sailors who’d sunk and then swum to a beautiful, far distant shore,

and I was the lone, lovely pair of eyes watching the two of them climb over waves like old seals.
Nothing reminds me of love like the flavor of autumn, within which the blood that congeals
breathes out its last essence, and that blends with smoke, and the weeds at low tide, and the fog-swollen air.
We fell asleep holding hands, long ago, and now we know why. Mirror-sky rendered fair

by visions who’ve swum to a surface we’ve tried to abandon but cannot, shine back to my eyes
the ones we were used to. Please open the pair of them gladly and—presently, sights will grow wise,
and we will go forward together forever, a little more Sun coming over the hill,
the usual light of the true Moon subsiding as human love goes down in waves with a will

to build up again to a high hilltop fortress that never knew war or its false light and pain.
Soft, if you’ll meet and not mind that I’m so very tired of the all-night dead-soldiers’ refrain—
warriors lying in floods of red wounds, and yet crying out for a shy, sidelong look—
Let us awaken right now, died of love, but mistaken—We’re liquid with all that love took—

When I can’t quite fall asleep, the hands gently held out to meet me run rich with young blood.
Precious, the pair of them; don’t let them find me when I am in heat; I’m not their form of flood.
Winding between us, the worried hands meeting in circular figures mean clock-dials and haste.
So sad, so early, so ugly, so unwise a jewel I once was, when I thought you were paste

that held flesh just barely on bones that were spines inside books that held all the wise spells sought in vain
till this very instant. My child, I was riddled to ashes by seas burned white-hot under rain;
I turned the next page with my heart in my throat, and our souls shone right through. Let me read on and on.
I’m fast asleep now; I’m dreaming; and yet I’m alive, and the pain—it seeks dawn, yet it’s gone.


About J

formal verse poetry and commentary at rainharp.com
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