When I left all I asked was peace
of the starry void, that
every shrewish hope be finally silent
yet after me you sent one white bird
only marsh cloud singing,
too soft, too frail to fly far.
I dreamed of you last night--
did you call me?
No, it was just my broken eyes
wanting to see the old calligraphy
strong and alive on the blank page but
that will never be again.
You were dream's pale clerk
troubled, frowning at the paper
on which many things were written
none of them my name.
I stood by your shoulder;
you turned, walking through me.
Waking, I couldn't say
if you or I was the ghost.
The gift of sleep
is taken back and I sit staring
at the perforated day, at walls falling
in this helpless place of the dead
where I've washed up
already chewed by the chimera
stung by the manticore,
wondering what white wings will come
out of the siren darkness,
what ghost bird is left.
Karin Gustafson is hosting today and asks us to voyage away from the known and explore the theme of exile.
If you would like to hear the poem read by the author, click below:
Image: Chimera, by Gustave Moreau, 1884, watercolor
Public domain, via wikipaintings.org