as if it were a bed of memories. There, it said, silently,
inside itself, the dream I remember still exists,
the one to which I surrendered when I knew I would die,
and the songs—scribblings of the heart—
hang in the air prepared to be received again, timeless.
A pen that rested on paper
expressed itself in lines and tied those lines in knots.
Words that wanted to go on living, to be words aloud,
but whose time had come and gone, like fuel.
Like fuel to the flame, like flame to the very air,
the words coalesced around a void and popped.
In this house in the woods near water, in its bed,
with the legs having worn through the linoleum underneath
so that its orientation was sacrosanct to the whole
look of the sun through the upper windows,
and the light set to go on at dusk, with everything as it was,
he dreamt more than usual—dreams that were bad for him.
The cardinal ate from the feeder when others had gone,
but the tufted titmouse, the nuthatch, the chickadee—these
wove about each other in turn, and the junco
ate the spilled seed from the ground. And the dreamer saw
that he had been eating someone else’s spilled dream,
and when he altered the angle of the bed, the dreams
Now the pen lay like a stick across the chilly paper.
It spoke again, again silently, and again was taken up
to stand like the arm of a sundial at the center of time
while the day rose in the sky and the birds reappeared.
The dream face of a parent reappeared, also, asking
whether the words now were exactly as he remembered
Universal sleep that coats the dark crystal of night—
then the pictures. Terrible things were never intended.
At dawn, a raw wind whipping an inky shadow
planes the surface of the bay, against the current.
His feet impress wet sand as he strains to hear
words that will summon the sensation of the past.