Then walk the floor, or twist upon your bed While bullets, cold and blind, rush backward from the target’s eye, And say, “I will not dream that dream again. I will not dream Of long-spent whispers vanishing down corridors That turn through buildings I have never known; The snap of rubber gloves; the tall child, blind, Who calls my name; the stained sheets Of another girl. And then a low bell, Sounding through shadows in the cold, Disturbs the screen that is my mind in sleep.
“—Your face is never clear. You always stand In charcoal doorways in the dark. Part of your face is gone. You say, ‘Just to be through with this damned world. Contagious fogs blow in. Christ, we could die The way deer sometimes do, their antlers locked, Rotting in snow.’ “And I can never speak. But have I ever told the truth to you? I did not ask for this; a new disease threads in. I want your lips upon my lips, your mouth Upon my breasts, again, again, again, again; I want the morning filled with sun.
“But I must dream once more of cities burned away, Corrupted wood, and silence on the piers. Love is a sickroom with the roof half gone Where nights go down in a continual rain.
Heart, heart. I do not live. The lie of peace Echoes to no end; the clocks are dead. What we have had we will not have again.”
Once during that year when all I wanted was to be anything other than what I was, the dog took my wrist in her jaws. Not to hurt or startle, but the way a wolf might, closing her mouth over the leg of another from her pack. Claiming me like anything else: the round luck of her supper dish or the bliss of rabbits, their infinite grassy cities. Her lips and teeth circled and pressed, tireless pressure of the world that pushes against you to see if you’re there, and I could feel myself inside myself again, muscle to bone to the slippery core where I knew next to nothing about love. She wrapped my arm as a woman might wrap her hand through the loop of a leash—as if she were the one holding me at the edge of a busy street, instructing me to stay.