blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1




The thorns had hands. The fire stood still.
It will take a hundred years

to piece together a hundred dreams.
A room of ashes was a room out-spun.

Mother says the heart is a wheel

and it will turn as I turn. Quickly.
Nightly.            I married the owl.


I told her I could not walk,

the walls circled my steps. I told her,
my flesh became stone  and I did not

bleed blood, but sound.
What sound?    I could not describe it;

it was voiceless

and low. But it was not.
Mostly I was not            alone in my solitude.

My breath became the ghost of me,

or the ghost of an old man
I’d long forgotten,
                                     a midnight grandfather.

Pages of thoughts, they were not mine,
            though my hand mastered

their language. I told her,

            I cannot howl winsomely
like vixens.
                        Like thieves. I wandered the forest,

fingering every loose twig,
but I was sleeping. My hand,

good as air, was sleeping.


In my sleep, I wrote the field guide:
red-winged dream, tufted dream.

One was of salt,

            one without hunger—a forest

of three-leaved trees.
I thought I knew everything.

My bed sat alone amongst the sassafras.
A fox, mid-pace and mid-bark, stopped

statue-like on a patch of moss.

             I was watcher,

or maker.                      Yellow-bellied
dream, mourning dream.

Each thing I saw: a seed to myself.

Inside a girl stirred restless as rain.
I could not see her. I only grew.

Mother says when the basket’s full,
it is time to come home.


Asleep, I lived

            in silence, but in light.

What if waking             were a room
black as the mind? Horn-billed dream,

Stellar’s dream. And the body,

a darkness        there is no memory of.  

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