WE HAD BEEN WALKING
We have been walking out here
For a very long time. The dark
Colored glass of this valley
Was making us sick. It might
Have been the smell that roiled
Through dressed like a five year
Yearning for blind angels to
Ministrate to us about the great
God, she looked
So beautiful as the ornaments
Of sleep crept into her face.
We couldn’t stay here any longer
Let alone wait for the great
Wings to show us what was
Really meant by those circles
Beaten into the stones telling
Us to love all things. There was
Unrest in the weather.
We watched them cock their
Rifles and come down the rows.
I dreamed you beside me in the morning,
The winds of sleep still rolling through
Your muscles, fields of diamonds cascading
Your dreams, white water on the white of oblivion.
You did not see me as I lay beside you, watching
Dawn slip across your skin. You did not know
I kissed you then or that you were other than
Your present self. I know and only I can know for sure.
I was surprised in this dreaming, dreaming that
You dreamed about me. Who knows what highways
Sleep will let us travel? All our lovers in their cars,
Zipping through the chemicals that unlock door
Upon door and let us see these loved ones again,
Living or dead. I dreamed that we were loving,
Making love with all attendant skies and being touched
By angels as we were there together, again and again,
Falling in and out of sleep, first you there and then
Again you not. I spread my hands upon the whiteness
Of the sheets and they were flat and cool, not you at all
And of more substance than such dreams.
This morning you were gone. You were birdsong
On the electric wires, the net of energy that surrounds
Us in our cities. You were slow breezes off the delta,
A dancing in the leaves of the trees, the sound of the mind
As it clears all sleep from its fine sifting screens, a moment
When, before the water hit my face, when you were truly
Real and I did not know that such a thing as this were
We were standing below the eaves
With the rain coming down hard,
Almost unbroken as if the water were
A solid that had been forced to
Reconsider its mission. What was it
To do? Be drunk? Irrigate crops?
Flood a street? Drown an animal?
That and the day around it, gray
With an insistent dull red of the
Traffic light breaking through the torrent
On a predictably regular mission
To change the day with its insistent interruptions.
It was no good. We knew we would
Be here for a long time. The world
Had turned soft and soggy around us.
We were no longer able to talk through
The downpour. I remember thinking “This
Is what it must be like all the time when
We grow old and once again live alone.”
I knew this wasn’t so but it
Became a banner and I imagined
The years running away from me,
Afraid of what would happen next,
The water rising above my shoes,
Slapping at my ankles.
The stone birds shattered
On the tiles just below the garden
Arch. Broken heads, bodies in
Pieces, more still than death is
Able to make us understand. There
Was no blood. It was not a great
Tragedy, just an unwinding, a slow
Unwinding of late morning
As we returned from the hill near
The edge of the sea, from watching the
Morning slide its fingers into the cove
Through the woods. You said the sun looked
As words might have looked had
There been sound beyond the soft
Ticking of the waves into the coolness.
No, it was just the fact they were
Broken. The end of a sentence or
The beginning of a lesson we hadn’t
Contracted to understand.
“Raccoons,” the gardener said, “They will
Do things like this occasionally. I think
they do it just to see what it looks like,
Just to see what will happen.”