And when the rains came
like lean wolves
we were ready. The statues strew with purpose,
half-buried in myth, in the fecund already
filling with color
like the last practice of a dance
that stretched like honeysuckle
on the border of a marble quarry,
where a girl, enslaved, leaned to test the taste
& imagined her name imprinted
on the road to the temple at Delphi,
so that there was no doubt, not ever,
of her freedom.
Her name in an earth screaming
debt & torches & sharks.
A thousand horses pull through the dream of a little land
& I must feed them
than stories & touch.
Ghosts, not flags
on the stars.
It is beginning to snow in the mind
& I am still in the car, that 100,000 miles of dream,
returning to where I’ve woken,
gift after gift,
thankful & bruised
as the faint music of the past opens
like a snarl—
the clarity of nests abandoned by winter, the apartment, the cathedrals of youth,
where swallows in the last feed ate the sky
of foreign cities
as I protected the mind
with youthful answers.
The yard is a half-finished altar,
a rat’s nest of tears.
Carved into the ether, the day
I was gifted the knife.
Bombs & the muffled screams of the dead.
There is no land, no palace
or money for rent.
To hold onto these dreams—horses at the trough,
consuming the fire in gulps.
My daughter at the door, in a bright-purple coat,
tying her boots
as I start up the car.
I am here & also
sitting in a fortress
by the sea.
I am here in the dream of the land, in the sky I was given
& give to my daughter
in paused moments of warmth—
A kite lost in the grave-clouds,
& her birthday next week.
The snows never came back
to hide us. Wolves in the labyrinth, guarded by guards
that shoot down any leaving
from their posts.
And the betta fish, the swaying tail we buried in ceremony, in a handkerchief,
as we decided an afterlife, a heaven in miniature, a now,
where her fish & grandfather
are never alone
& I imagine, alone, the part of story where she can visit the soil in the future,
because we own the land
& the handkerchief we folded
when she shows her first love this place.
Dad, we must be going somewhere…
In a country I’ve built another country, a home,
though its mostly a poem, a story
there is good water to drink
wolves & dangers
in the ways we can explain
& prepare for.
The road to this country is a thread.
A benevolent fire.
I don’t know where we’re going…
Imagine it with me.
Step in. Let us in.