Because you like to sleep with curtains drawn,
at dawn I rose and pulled the velvet tight.
You stirred, then set your hand back on my hip,
the bed a ship in sleep’s doubled plunging
wave on wave, until as though a lighthouse
beam had crossed the room: the vase between
the windows suddenly ablaze, a spirit,
seized, inside its amethyst blue gaze.
What’s that? you said. A slip of light, untamed,
had turned the vase into a crystal ball,
whose blue eye looked back at us, amazed, two
sleepers startled in each other’s arms,
while day lapped at night’s extinguished edge,
adrift between the past and future tense,
a blue moon for an instant caught in its chipped
sapphire—love enduring, give or take.
Copyright © 2016 by Cynthia Zarin. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 13, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.
Trying to fall asleep,
I count down stone steps
into the dark, and there they are:
Centaurs, half in and half out
of the woods, hindquarters still trees.
Downstairs in dreams I look
directly into their man-eyes,
which are opaque, absorbent.
They don’t speak. I don’t speak
of the long yellow teeth tearing off
the little dress—just for a glimpse,
no harm done. No hands, no harm.
Their hindquarters still trees.
No words to explain or contain it.
You can’t translate something
that was never in a language
in the first place.
Copyright © 2016 Chase Twichell. Used with permission of the author.
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