Two for Tuesday: The In-Between Time
For the Sleepwalkers
Tonight I want to say something wonderful
for the sleepwalkers who have so much faith
in their legs, so much faith in the invisible
arrow carved into the carpet, the worn path
that leads to the stairs instead of the window,
the gaping doorway instead of the seamless mirror
I love way that sleepwalkers are willing
to step out of their bodies into the night,
to raise their arms and welcome the darkness,
palming the blank spaces, touching everything.
Always they return home safely, like blind men
who know it is morning by feeling shadows.
And always they wake up as themselves again.
That’s why I want to say something astonishing
like: Our hearts are leaving our bodies.
Our hearts are thirsty black handkerchiefs
flying through the trees at night, soaking up
the darkest beams of moonlight, the music
of owls, the motion of wind-torn branches.
And now our hearts are thick black fists
flying back to the glove of our chests.
We have to learn to trust our hearts like that.
We have to learn the desperate faith of sleep-
walkers who rise out of their calm beds
and walk through the skin of another life.
We have to drink the stupefying cup of darkness
and wake up to ourselves, nourished and surprised.
~ Edward Hirsch
Just what is there to do? Eat
Is one, sleep is another.
But before the night ends
We could walk under
These camphors, hand in hand
If you like, namedropping
The great cities of the past,
And if a dog should join
Us with his happy tail,
The three of us could talk,
Politics perhaps, medicine
If our feet should hurt
For the sea.
The moon is between clouds,
And we’re between words
That could deepen
But never arrive.
Like this walk. We could go
Under trees and moons,
With the stars tearing
Like mouths in the night sky,
And we’ll never arrive.
That’s the point. To go
Hand in hand, with the words
A sparrow could bicker
Over, a dog could make sense of
Even behind a closed door,
Is what it’s all about.
A friend says, be happy. Desire.
Remember the blossoms
In rain, because in the end
Not even the ants
Will care who we were
When they climb our faces
To undo the smiles.
~ Gary Soto
Music by Civil Twilight, “Too Far Gone”