Traveler, Dream

One hears the cipher in what the other says,
this impossibility, frail but bristling,
so unlike an afterthought, the gates already
down, always happening and always over,
the you that patrols fences and quibbles

over boundaries, the trouble we have
seeing others as ourselves in our poor
translation. We crawl out amazed things
look the same after all that work and the din
of endearments. But we’d persist despite

the sink holes we fly over in our dreams
as if we really know the things we dissect—
deserts, crows strutting the road or shuddering up
from empty trees, plank roads, mud. It did in fact
always end the same way—as if mortality

were not secure but could be contracted,
factories of replication churning
and then the way you have to concentrate
to see living getting done until there’s no
need to imagine one could have proceeded

otherwise. Love, then, so like the wind—known
only by its effects, clothes flapping on the line,
trees’ shivering sway, nature’s own light shifting
like a strobe, the heart like an animal loosed
from long captivity. Our gaze a mask, our

little armor for a stroll, a casual
but precise repast. Looking back, lies still look
true so sturdy was the moment of belief—
that little space in which things seem what they are,
the other not your fellow but your cage,

an abiding inside, the seamless folly
of your captured state, your dreams unlocking
every door, the time to settle far past.
Nonetheless, one walks out, one cannot regret
what arrives already done, the invisible

thing you loved, panic coming on like flashing
particles suspended in the medium
you’re made of, the past no longer a place
to visit, no one ever really there. When there’s
nothing left in you but thirst or hunger, someone

comes out to chase you away. So much for
knowing the disaster comes, or how deception
unravels the future too—but one still hopes,
there is no blame, no use bemoaning the
mundane mojo of wanting to live,
knowing that you’ll go on foot from here.

 

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