by Beverly Dahlen

Some of you now living will bend your breath to these words
which are and are not breathing
not here but in the leaping, in the eye that shines upon
the morning, the long softness of the young pine--

these things come into it already, the pine, the roses,
as ghosts of themselves into which you breathe.
Do you see pine and roses? Where in the world are they?

These things are emblems here of the not nothing which you are
if you are breathing. Have your pine and roses. Have your own
kind. The particular hair and dewdrop circumscribed. This

is mine. It takes the place of the sun. It fails.
The garden is beyond the window. The pine and roses intertwined
in a lush static. And the sun is there also beyond the
window. Where otherwise would it be? The breathing fails.

It is in me, in a darkness.
These dark words waver in your light, in your mouth.
Everything beyond them is innocent. You
and I
have known this from the beginning.

May, 1978

Published in Gallery Works Four, San Francisco, 1979.
Eds. Peter Holland, Jeanne Lance and John Yurechko

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