Monday, August 16, 2010

Prayer for summer nights

As if my mouth opened.
As if there pulsed from it a sound,

like an unwound thread
curling over the waters in this city

and in the air, in the waters
suspended in the air.

As if that sound crashed, receded,
crashed among sleepers

like the first sign of the beloved,
sharpening their dreams to hungry points

waking them openmouthed and grasping.
As if they rose onto their elbows,

then their hands, lips aching forward,
as if that was the way humans

had always recognized each other
in the dark. As if the air disturbed

by that collective gesture, the outlines
of all those rising faces, produced an echo

that I could hear under sweat-soaked covers
and over the buzz of air conditioners in other windows

and all the paraphernalia of sleeplessness
in summer. As if the echo would wrap me up

in the contents of those myriad desires,
like the strange clothes of a returning explorer.

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