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Because the Dream Is My Tenderest Arm


ISSUE:  Autumn 1995

absence is a margin of strongholds. I go out
and I go out. Love is sequence and
condition: one of the few winter nights
it doesn’t rain, one of the few
snowy mountains that refuses to
avalanche, one of my eternally suspended steps
that leads me, feeds me to the clean patch
of night outside his window
miles from where I lie sleeping.

Heart, he lies there sleeping. Heart, you are
only the shell of a confessed desire
wondering what to do next. The rules for love
in dreams command that all short-lived embryos
shaped by separations be dropped suddenly
onto his chest. Poem, you can die now.
He knows in the caverns of his dream’s involuntary
memory that I tried to pass the faint explosion
of these disheveled words over his body’s echo.

Poem, put your breath down like a pen that knows
it is well used when the message is love,
when the poem has decayed into its heartbeat
and can be expressed simply as these petals I toss
through the dream’s window
all night onto his sleeping face.

Heart, it doesn’t matter. We were only sleeping
to let the poem know where to find us.
Now let it rain. Let the avalanche
of hours we’ve spent apart have their say. Only they
have the power to make these words
bear my heartprint as they fall outside the dream.

Poem, you can die now. I’m going to wake him
with my last petal. Now let it rain.
I want to leave a woman-sized body
outside his window with a dream’s ambition:
never, no never to be filled
as this soul was with its body.

But if I speak of the soul,
it is only to use a halo of doubt
to mark the site of a true disappearance.

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