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ISSUE:  Summer 1978

Cottonwood: boats of white thread
going, it seems, nowhere,
carrying a seed invisible
as the soul of Pharaoh, among the little servants . . .

I remember how, in such a week
dividing spring from summer
—a desert leatheriness on the June leaves—
coming home from church, I tried to imagine heaven

and got as far as a sense of pattern
before and after life,
its stained glass slightly tilted
to the summer air:
the old waiting for completion as the young
wait to know of the flesh;
somewhere, at each moment, an eye of breaking vessels
meets an eye that does not hold a single name.

Things the houses talk of,
with their smooth lintels, their unblinking eyes.
The spaces between the stars
that contain us, though none of us will ever go there.
The ephemerids holding it all in their one day.

And then, this was lost; for years I thought of time
as a series of lonely, brightly-lit rooms,
each a little different,
but with no ladders up or down into
layers of other life . . .

But the first time we wrongly thought that you were pregnant,
I heard a voice in a dream
saying, “we are going to the power station”;
and I looked down, ecstatic, from a mountaintop,

at a russet brick building, grilled but windowless,
smokestacks rising among great elms;

and then I dreamed we were on a train, all windows,
heading into the lights of a coastal city,
and someone said, “you will be on this train forever.”

I woke up feeling that I had been in heaven.


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