Joyful, we rise like a cloud of angels
flying a straight line,
like geese in their true direction,
too high to be seen.
Like all the agonies of the world,
we are released into forgotten dreams,
like a scattering of soft white clouds
that trail like dresses
made of moonlight.
Joyful, we are released
from dreams of the troubled.
We are the solutions of sleep.
Children admire us,
then forget us.
We do not look back.
We are the sensations that come
The sky trembles to receive us.
We penetrate the lining of grief
until we are no longer needed.
We suffer with disappointment
when called back.
We thought we were free,
but we return
through the echoes
that never fade. We separate
and return to the memories we trust.
IN THE GALLERY
(after The Bride Stripped Bare by her
Bachelors, Even by Marcel Duchamp)
Between glass panes, the image struggles,
torn by the light when discovered—
caught in reflection
when eyes glance past—
uneasy at what they imagine:
nothing is there,
but nothing stares back—
impressed by its own distortion—
this abject dance—this shattered resistance.
Let us remember the
tyranny of rivers that carry away
all things remembered . . .
perhaps we are the shadows
of the river, born into a
stream of finding . . .
we suffer the many weathers
and ride the turbulence
as though a second wisdom guides us . . .
what is a river?—we have flawed
perspective, shadows that shift with
the movement of river-currents . . .
do shadows drown?—
we have felt them among us,
losing hold and blending . . .
where are the gods of superstition
we feel their shadows flailing . . .
(after At the Chateau Lacoste
by Toyen [Marie Cerminova], 1946)
The beast of sorrow is hungry.
It has always starved.
It has always been held captive by need.
It has become a mural to loss.
It cannot escape the wall though it weeps
and the prey comes up to it in pity.
Though it snarls,
it cannot feed.
Though the prey
has pity, it cannot be sacrifice.
Something stays between,
what is lost is always what we love.
Shadow sits down beside her
and is not noticed—
at least, as much as she can manage.
Still, she leans into Shadow as the musicians
play an old love song.
In a while, Shadow asks her to dance.
At first I was content
then I was afraid.
Time was too quiet.
It lay in lumps like pillows.
It smothered my face
when I cried.
Loudness stayed at the edges
like so much detail.
I forgot all my reasons.
The shadow I was born with
grew very possessive.
I belonged to it now.
It became a spy. Stole my
power. Led me into futures
and beginnings. At first
I was afraid. Then I was content.
my shadow follows me
from fear to possession . . .
when I sit down
my shadow curls up inside me . . .
when I look in the image mirror
my shadow appears . . .