Friday, October 14, 2011

What Do We Have Here?

A woman digs in the desert.
With brown hands and bleeding fingers,
She scrabbles at the cracked red clay.
This is what I dreamed of, early,

At the weird hour of the morning,
Moon setting and baby rising
From a nightmare to cry an hour
While her mother and I took turns

Singing slowly to console her.
As the moon disappeared, the sky
For once literally grew darkest
Just ahead of the ghosts of dawn,

And I passed in and out of sleep
Too brief for any rest, too long
For the brain not to be tempted
To try another sickly dream

In the dying of the moonlight,
An image of coppered sunlight,
Of the woman, curled like a root,
Withering but clawing the ground,

Digging to plant a single seed,
That my brain, tempted to dreaming,
In my head, lolling in moonlight
Beside the crib at last quiet,

Knew would have to become a tree,
Climbing out of the stony dirt,
Immune to the need for water,
And that tree become a forest,

And that forest cover the world,
And the world I knew of babies
And moonlight and weird morning dreams
Disappear among all those things

That were but might have never been
Save for the memory of them,
Itself now buried as that seed,
As that dream, as that moon, as me,

And I wake up, never having 
Really slept at all in my dream,
Of the woman and the desert
And the forest that resulted,

But I am, such as I am here,
By the crib, confused, awake
Where the question will never be
"What was that?" but, "What have we here?"

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