day 6: scenery in a dream


Scenery in a dream


Life is not merely the struggling at present, there is also the poetry and distant fields

               – Zhongwen Yu


I cracked youth open. It was an accident.

It came rushing out, all over our bodies

sticky and wet and breathing our own words back at us


ones we thought had come while dreaming.


I had been dancing. You were sleeping with your head

pressed against the cold, white wall


mouthing sleep words into the sheet rock,

the same words


long and slow so the plaster could hear you.




I smelled something burning.

It was the house we lived in, but nobody had hands

to douse the fire or lips to spit it out.


It was evening, and all the boys and girls had gathered in our kitchen.

I watched their hips and hands swaying to a distant music,

their arms wrapped around each others’ waists.


A little girl emerged from the rubble

of our bedroom. She was thin but

not burnt. Her skin had the matte black sheen


of wrought-iron. The smoke

had made her heavy.




Why we drift into

a certain scent.


We are wandering now in a garden

where you lift your dress so I can touch the tops

of your thighs.


I remember only your legs and

your hands, possibly


the aftertaste of

one guess


on your mouth, just

what could have been there

not even your long hair


which I loved

to run through, that distant



a long, thin





Credit to the art and words of Zhongwen Yu, who inspired this poem. His work can be found at Saatchi Art:

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