Hunter heart a lonely is the

Dream I have a little   of a mathematics         Child again absorbed
in novels from my sickbed     Bright clutch of what is recognition

somewhere avant meridian     Another child leaving in the novel
I am reading    Light in me     a sleep a pool of neither

thought nor feeling     not of things but of     their elements
escaping          Slips away the child    in the book from a party        

her birthday from        the other children        she is leaving  
I am tired        I am reading    I am adding I am                  trying

not to understand        To undo the will         to understand 
Must relinquish must and trying         Reading free from I

I read a child   listening for the first time       to music for the first time
in the sense     of recognition             What is it that sees me

child in a novel           that has neither                   person nor a substance                      
music              mathematics is a dream                   makes me see myself 

more loving     when I listen               makes my heart go     
the hunter and a lonely           Remembering  is a mathematics         

and the body in its illnesses    the stamina has symphonic               
calculus of living        in a sickness    I can listen now          

learn I have a mind     listening          heart I have    
remembers      what the seeing was    a dream a reading is    

a feeling          I have every time I have         first comes     
the listening    then memory     dream            the sense

of speech         is mathematics                        to see a means of feeling
there is always then    the leaving       and undoing            Life I was

a fraction         will not see      the world that I am making    
I knew in my additions           I was nothing more than

almost             child again      in the middle distance speaking
to his apparition          Speak              you have a history


Copyright © 2021 by Kyle Dacuyan. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 24, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“I dream frequently about reading, and have no idea how to tell you what reading in a dream even is. But I think whatever it is hangs around the way beautiful experiences of music and fiction do in memory, the memory of recognition, and then something else that follows recognition—cargoes of ego dissolving. I became a reader when I was twelve, in a hospital and away from school for about six months—I was in such physical pain, I felt like all I had was a mind, though is a mind something you really ‘have’? I cherish the not-having. The book in the poem is by Carson McCullers, but I don’t want to gloss over it because you should read it and have your own experience. Something free is what I think I am trying to dream.”
Kyle Dacuyan