Bearable Reality

she slept,
in the afterlife of wakefulness,
one leg stretched taut,
anaemic sunshine pooling
like orangeade
in the rigid arch of her foot,
the expended day tangled around a sharply bent knee,
a dawn rising in the exclamation of her hip,
one hand shielding her indifferent ear,
a flattened palm
pushing against an obstinate headboard;
a defiant poem refusing to stay within the lines,
within the page,
even in repose,
tassels of the swirling night,
clenched tight in her outraged fist,
only her eyes,
in a more bearable reality;

he watched her,
her breath like screams,
like songs,
heavy with the sediment
of imploded dreams,
his lips moved in pagan chants,
stars spilling like prayer beads
from the tired limbs of light,
he gathered the fugitive words,
his fingers sewing ellipses
into roseate promises,
soft against the vector of her neck;
a poem that straddled undrawn lines,
that rose and fell,
that claimed both heaven and hell;
he watched her sleep,
folding and refolding time,
into believable imagery.


Darkness stumbled in,
bruised and bleeding black;
there had been a collision, they said,
due west of the horizon,
with a stubborn day,
drunk on the fast lane,
unwilling to leave.

His wagon had tipped over;
dream shards scratched the purple sky;
sacks of sleep stretched and yawned,
floated away in passing cloud tubs;
but passion lay where it had fallen,
its mood deflated,
its eyes empty of need.

Light streamed in
through his shredded skin
seeking wide open eyes;
fevered minds tossed,
restive, awake,
in their solitary beds.

But this night
that has turned up empty-handed,
that cannot turn off the day;
what good can come of such a night
that left my last dream
on a starlit highway?