The Dream, The Body, The Word


I don’t know what it means.  But it holds me:

“An English doctor is riding a horse,” he said,

“The man who picked cucumbers has pulled

himself out of the dead by the limb of a fig tree.

A woman is braiding her hair.  Silkworms

are in silkworm huts.  There is a war.

A comb has been stolen.  There is a fox.”


I don’t know what it means, but I listen, quietly.

There is a dream here; a body is speaking.

There are words.  They hold me.  If I try

to pick them apart, the blood will seep out,

the mystery will fail.


A poet is a maker, a creator of mystery

and reality — the greatest mystery.

Each day, we feel our bodies and we say:  “Are we

here?”  What we did yesterday, the tongue

that touched us, the word that held us — is it real?

The center is in its house and we are in the house

of our own bodies.  And when the back of our hand,

or a breath touches our cheek, when the pulse pauses

in our bellies and our feet burn — they are ours.

It is our body.  But not the same as yesterday or tomorrow.

We feel joy and pain more intensely, but is it real?

And yesterday, what happened last afternoon and evening?

Were we there?  Was it this that made us new, more  substantial?

Memory blurs.  Only the body remains.  It will grow

tired and slack, lose its vigor and glow.  What can

hold me now, in this place?  The words that were spoken.

The words remain.