The grumble of a distant train shakes
me from dreams,
metallic smell
of her crusted veins lingering
in the moist air like a coming threat
of thunder. Fumbling
for the bathroom
light i
find myself
staring at a mirror
turned back to sand,
a shoreline of grainy morning
shadows where
the loneliest word is written

and erased by creeping tides,
traced and non-existed
like the back-and-forth
of a crosshead whose engine
to be off down the tracks,

my breath like her whistle
steaming for what lies
around the next stretch
of coast.

where the wild horses run

as the sky re-
writes its own
geography, dancing
the horizon in
and out of focus,
follow the road
to its end, lead
it shyly on
into wet glowing
the footfall
of uncorralled

though the darkness
that falls
is implacable,
its night twisted
up in borrowed
sheets and a bed
as big as a desert,

there is
on the floor
with the softly
waking dawn,
and angel
trumpets that
whistle forlornly
a prime
for coming

untame, still

Her eyes
are like young mares,
dashing wildly for some escape
to the chains her body has thrown round
tomorrow, tying it down
to this sad bed, these muted

It wasn’t like this,

There was a house with a garden
and a man who tended it.
He planted figs in the side yard
and brought home fried chicken for lunch on Sundays.
Together, they sat by the lake
and in the summer, the kids would
feed bits of stale bread to the ducks and turtles,
or string them on the old cane lines
to catch little sunfish.

There was no pain.

No drifting off into morphine clouds where
maybe, she still dreams of these things,
of painlessness.
Can she smell summer in her sleep?
Taste blackberries? See the walk
lined with purple flowers, hear
the wind over the water?
She scratches at the oxygen lines
as if at mosquito bites, moans.
Her eyes, underneath
pale lids, are like young mares
searching for some lost meadow.
Can she hold my hand
and remember