There's nothing I can't find under there. Voices in the trees, the missing pages of the sea. Everything but sleep. And night is a river bridging the speaking and the listening banks, a fortress, undefended and inviolate. There's nothing that won't fit under it: fountains clogged with mud and leaves, the houses of my childhood. And night begins when my mother's fingers let go of the thread they've been tying and untying to touch toward our fraying story's hem. Night is the shadow of my father's hands setting the clock for resurrection. Or is it the clock unraveled, the numbers flown? There's nothing that hasn't found home there: discarded wings, lost shoes, a broken alphabet. Everything but sleep. And night begins with the first beheading of the jasmine, its captive fragrance rid at last of burial clothes.
From Book of My Nights (BOA, 2001) by Li-Young Lee. Copyright © 2001. Appears with permission of BOA Editions, Ltd.
Li-Young Lee was born in 1957 in Jakarta, Indonesia, to Chinese parents.
Date Published: 2001-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/pillow