In the imperfect dark
no hope of either love or sleep,
I listen to the wind
and water’s long
bewildering dialogue, under
the common stars.

Tonight the stars
abrade the dark.
If I could under-
stand why you left, then I could sleep.
How long
until you call? No message in the wind,

not in the wind.
Braided with stars
the sky’s long
awning shelters the world. And now the dark—
that first mother of sleep—
coaxes: “Go under,

let yourself go under,
let the wind
whisper you to sleep
and the stars
will go out, the dark
surf will rock you in its hammock all night long.”

The night is very long.
Far under
the surface of water, dark
fish swim deaf to the wind,
only coral reefs for stars,
no need of sleep.

I want so much to sleep.
It is what I long
for, more than love. I want these tallowed stars
snuffed out under
clouds or fog. Why can’t the wind
just blow them out and leave me to the dark?

sleep and sleep … I am going under
long and under and wind
and under … your face … the stars … the dark


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