Margaret Atwood – “Variation On The Word Sleep”

I would like to watch you sleeping,
which may not happen.
I would like to watch you,
sleeping. I would like to sleep
with you, to enter
your sleep as its smooth dark wave
slides over my head

and walk with you through that lucent
wavering forest of bluegreen leaves
with its watery sun & three moons
towards the cave where you must descend,
towards your worst fear

I would like to give you the silver
branch, the small white flower, the one
word that will protect you
from the grief at the center
of your dream, from the grief
at the center. I would like to follow
you up the long stairway
again & become
the boat that would row you back
carefully, a flame
in two cupped hands
to where your body lies
beside me, and you enter
it as easily as breathing in

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary.

“watering a frozen garden”

our hidden bungalow
in our coupled imagination
is still there
to me
and to me
there’s a quilt in there
that still smells like us
and an alarm clock
that’s never set

and — as i described once —
a door-to-door fishmonger
with a bucket of shaved ice
and the fresh catch
(and a hook for a hand)
at our door
yelling his wares

and to me a fireplace
and more snow and distance
than anyone we had left behind
could navigate