A crow made of light
Came to our house today.
It sat upon the swing set
And would not let the children play.
It was so very bright.
We could not look away
And when it cawed, sparks flew
From its mouth all day.
We have never seen a thing like this
Before or ever since.
It must have come from heaven
To give us a little glimpse.
But Ramon said, "No. It came from hell."
Of that he was quite sure,
For it burned a sulfur yellow
And it smelled like nothing pure.
At some point he had reached the limit.
He still had his sword.
There was something ordinary about his dreams.
It seemed as if the seasons changed every day.
He dreamed all of the primary colors.
His faith got a loan from the morning.
He promised to repay it in bird songs.
Insomnia began to have a particular diameter.
Twice he saw the original Adam.
He was driving a car.
His body became rhetorical.
He could see dynasties in the faces of strangers.
Suddenly he knew the names of every dog he saw.
He realized how the pyramids were built.
A terrible fear that being would never cease
He realized there was a mistake in
The making of every afternoon.
He could see the wolves inside of every building.
Nostalgia had a boat in the harbor
But it had serious holes in its hull.
There were flags flying over every city
That were the color of skin.
He saw great tapestries celebrating wars
That had yet to happen.
Viking ships could be seen on all the horizons.
There were many clouds but none of them
Were recognizable in any way.
WHAT SHE WAS SAYING WHEN THE HOUSE
That her marriage was failing
And it wasn’t her fault.
That the kids were almost grown
And they hardly said anything
To her anymore.
That the car was breaking down all
The time and it was a darn shame.
That she had forgotten her doctor’s
Appointment but that she didn’t
Hurt any longer, anyway.
That it wasn’t her that her girlfriend
Saw at the store buying that big
Bottle of vodka.
That she was disappointed they
Could no longer afford to belong
To the swim club.
That life was becoming impossible
And things could not get worse.
A SEPARATE DREAM
You may not open that door.
This is why we put numbers
On years; so you cannot return,
Even if you are owed a great debt.
No one will answer. They do know
Your voice. The dungeons
Are not empty. The cells
Are sealed. There are indeed
Limits on these things.
Run your tongue around the inside
Of your mouth. Feel the wetness.
See, this is a separate dream.
This is not your own at all.
From this window you can see
The Ganges. Those are the burning
Ghats. You have forgotten
That you had solitude at one time,
That you are still alive,
That you can extend your hand.
Raise it in greeting. We will watch.
Now, say something divine.
It will soon be forgotten, my dear.
THE HOLLOW HOUSE
I had forgotten that he lived
In a hollow house. It was close
To the sea and one could hear
The waves breaking in every room
Of the place. There was an insistence
About it that one become sand once again.
I walked into the place half-
Expecting the doors to be magic,
For it to be a dream no matter
If I was in sleep or wakefulness.
I listened to the songs being sung
From the upstairs rooms in Arabic,
In Latin, in a drifting Portuguese that
Spun across the tongue like prayers.
I do not know why I am here.
I had no map. I recognized the primary
Colors but they explained nothing.
Everything had been emptied from the place
Where I stood. I could see
The great wave come, so much higher
Than any house, so much more dense
Than any faith.
One light, only one. It was too
Far away to say if it was a talismanic
Caress, one that could protect swords,
Govern destiny, decipher labyrinths
And question all alchemy.
We try to recall if we have seen this
Kind of light, a glimmer within a lemon
Grove just as evening abandoned
Its apartments for the coming of the moon.
It seemed so melancholy, almost shy,
As if it might be the last time it would
Be seen. Perhaps the only time.
When we spoke together later,
Some recalled things they had lost,
The fine sense of standing by the sea,
The memory of looking at the garden,
The taste of grapes, something that does
Not obey order. We are troubled by these
Feelings, all because of a light.
Years later, when visiting a temple,
I saw a tapestry in an alcove that commemorated
This event exactly as we had seen it so long ago.
My heart filled with thoughts of that evening.
When I left the place, night was already here.
I looked to the far distance, searching for that light.
Of course, there was nothing of the sort.
Something that does not obey order.
Saint Francis spoke to the birds.
He called them brothers. They spoke
Of the preciousness of the night.
Praised be the love. Praised be the surrender,
Said Francis. Praised be this moment,
They said together. They resumed dreaming.
—Medusa, with thanks to D.R. Wagner for today's poems and pix!