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Killing All Evil Dragons, My Son

ISSUE:  Autumn 1982

Like a hole so big
it swallows itself every night and cries O
in the morning—
that much, little boy coughing up sunlight.
Your mother is drowning
in spoonfuls of ruby-sweet blood,
your brother is already looking for you
in nightmares that come true tomorrow,
and all your father can do is lie,
making paper words against darkness.


Outside this hospital window
the air drips with spring.
Only last night
those branches that tap on the window
tried to break in.
Now they burst at the tips, dreaming green,
while small animals stretch awake
and rise and walk and live again.

Now I must take myself into that place,
now, go into the world of this mist
where you lie curled and alone at the last
and unmoving.
Soft boy, secret breather,
what gathers around you?
What walks the waters of sleeping to find you?
What is that manshape, its arms full of fires,
who holds you so closely, my own?
And how must I take you?

With blistered fingers
and arms that smoke,
I scrape the air
for a sliver of light.
Against my chest,
I feel you tremble.
Blinded, I stumble
and fall through the night.


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