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Everything Is Real and Everything Isn’t


Today was a slow day. 
Pigeons ate wheat from my palm,
coffee and oranges in a sunny chair,
thoughts of you, how you were a good
child, and how, now that you’re grown,
you have stepped into a forest webbed
with shadow and still can’t shake the dreams.

Dreams that there are no more children
in your body, no more moths around your oil lamp.
The ones you bore, like a maze of identical streets,
the ones you didn’t, digging holes in the earth
with a hawk’s feather while sunlight pools
in their throats, lost children singing to themselves
as the dark grows solid around them.

In my dreams, I arrive where no one awaits me,
on a train stopped beneath a church clock without
hands.  Used shoes hang from the eaves of houses,
bedraggled and stained, as if pulled from a sack
being dragged to the river. I pass a building full
of muffled voices, or perhaps it is a single mouth
filled with muffled laughter.  Two modest voices,
I decide at last, aglow like afternoon sunlight,
like a choir. Come, lovers of dark corners, one says,
lose something every day, as it’s always evening
in an occupied country.  No, replies the other.
In the dark in such a country, we cast no shadows.
All one needs is a broom darker than the midnight streets.

The road from town was lined with white birch trees,
mud, blossoming apples.  I gathered blossoms for
your hair near the roots of weeds white with dust,
where gods jostled one another over lost door keys.
There was more—blind archers, a woman with breasts
as hard as tin, flute music floating from your fingers,
a ring of supple women, birds at dusk in the clear sky
tucking their wings and descending into darkness—but,
sniffing the twilight, hunting for you, I put my dreams
aside like something wicked and hurtle through the dark
toward you, my woolen lover, you who have crossed
the distances to roost in me, to people my empty bed.