Until then, every forest
had wolves in it, we thought
it would be fun to wear snowshoes
all the time, and we could talk to water.
So who is this woman with the gray
breath calling out names and pointing
to the little desks we will occupy
for the rest of our lives?
Yet books could lift me out of Illinois
and nearer to the saffron, thatchy
eaves of Elsewhere
There beautiful women swayed
with pots on their heads the way
the girl across the street improved
her posture with algebra while I
pretended she was bringing me
a drink from the bottomless
well of literature.
A Guide to Refreshing Sleep
It is best to remember those nights
when grown-ups were singing and breaking
glass and someone who smelled good
carried you up hushed stairs toward strange
cold bedrooms to be launched on a dark
lake of coats.
If Memory does not suffice, you may
summon the obvious mascots of sleep,
but forego counting. It is miserly. They
will come and stand by your bed, nodding
their graceful Egyptian heads, inviting you
across the crooked stile to one of those
hamlets nestled between blue hills
where the curious are curious about sleep,
the enthralled are enthralled with sleep,
and the great conclusion is always,
‘It’s time for bed.’
Look — a cottage door stands open. On the night
table is a single candle, yellow sheets are turned
back, and in the garden are marshaled
the best dreams in the world. Lie down.
The horrible opera of the day is over.
Close your eyes, so the world which loves you
can go to sleep, too.