day 6: scenery in a dream

30/30

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

field

 

a long, thin

winding

 

curtain.

 

Credit to the art and words of Zhongwen Yu, who inspired this poem. His work can be found at Saatchi Art: http://www.saatchiart.com/account/artworks/86299.

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