In a dream of fresh compasses, I sang
by the coat-changing river—yellow, then
blue, and then red. I don’t even remember
what I sang to or about. I am tempted
to say the deer of daylight, but it must have been
God, only God—the fat shrub at the center of
the garden. The garden come alive.
I emptied my pockets of all the summers I had,
and I washed out the filth on my tongue. Then
my mother appeared. I did not touch her.
I asked her what she sold in the market
of heaven; but her mouth was sealed—
a locket—fastened to nothing. I haven’t stopped
wondering why the arrow came. Why the blackbirds
never really returned. And my mother,
even in a dream, would never speak to me.