Wayne Miller - Only the Senses Sleep
from Only the Senses Sleep
For the 20th Century
Now that it’s dark, I can say
thank god my piece of you went down with the sun—
that ancient Christ-like ship—.
Our past hums red
like a blood slide held up to the light,
a thin wash of cells. The body we keep opening
to spill its contents for a closer reading.
Days drift behind the blousy curtain . . . .
Our years in a house with an all-sunset view—
we kept the shades drawn tight. Nothing to do
but rearrange the furniture
and play the boardgames for keeps.
Why not brush on another layer of red?—
memory’s erasure—the immuring scrim of all we know.
History’s alchemy will explain away the big stuff,
while the interior of a life
cups its soul in its callused palm.
When I wake before morning
I let the booklight fill the night silence—my room,
the tiny part of you I lived. Outside,
the stoplight keeps cycling over
in the held breath of its empty intersection.
Each living cell numbered on the calendar—
blood in my body’s sponge. Looking back,
I must admit I’ll miss you.
I know you won’t ask me to explain why.