Trigger

It is impossible to sleep with his feet fixed on their beacon. He presses them behind knees, into hip, against spine. I stiffen my skin and try to fall further in. He belongs right here I suppose, even though each time I sink into the lagoon, his hook cleaves the deep and rips me from my chosen oblivion. One touch sets the chain cranking back over its pulley and drags me towards unwelcome air.

So much like birth.

(So much for sweet erasure.)

My mother’s friend was found dead day four days ago.
She makes her hand into the shape of a gun. Points it at her head.
It strikes me
as she bends her thumb
to blow a tunnel through her skull
that this gesture is the international sign

for get me away
from these morons

when you can’t bear the noise
one second more, caught
in a riptide of voices
belonging to you or to the ones
in whose company you’ve found yourself
snared
hurling
attribution at each wave
every angle of light
anywhere but the lungs
from which they come
and what you want is to
(hand, gun, thumb)
hitch one hell of a ride

Into?
Away from?

I didn’t know before
his name and didn’t have a chance to say
look
lucid dreaming is a dark magic that is not without its costs.
They’ve got you pinned
against the seawall and the tidal crest
rushes, yes
but you learn
to tear yourself from those eye hooks
and swing the whole facade around

to block the salt that surges for your throat. You are left safe (for what it’s worth) and now your only direction of travel is a terrain with no visible geography and no written rules. You have to turn. You have to face the blank expanse. Your hand alone holds the purple crayon.

You may be asleep but you cannot count on dreams anymore
to read your desires, to lay them out
on a carpet of oil and flesh for you.
You claimed your mind. You signed on the dotted line.

You chose this spell.

He and I could have put our heads together
two wholes almost
puzzling over this:
How do you draw the world you would inhabit if no limits existed, not even the laws of physics?

(Does the very idea make you weary?
Do you, like me, ache to creep back to the cliff,
to swallow the sea?)

It doesn’t matter.
Put the gun down.
Open your hand. It will take
the shape
of what hasn’t been sketched
just yet.

Heaven cannot possibly be a release from the burden of imagination.

We would cast a legion of lines
to him to pull him back
to hold him here
to rub him warm from the shock of return
if we could
(as if we could

have).

In the beachfire steeldrum night
I would say
look
if fate or invention or the forces of providence could anticipate your desire
and angels set to work manifesting each component fragment a split second before the notion cracked free of its seed,
wouldn’t you still need your hunger? Your taste for color? Your private lyric? Your thirst, your frisson, the key bending to your tune?

He does not show up to hear my impassioned speech.
The blanket I’ve wrapped around him is stiff and hollow.
A week late, I plead myself hoarse to an empty room

not so empty after all.

My son’s toes rake like harpoons into my fleeing back and rip me up
towards the sting
of waking.

I ask myself if for once I might come to shore glad of being saved.
I ask myself
as my fantasy flits off ahead trailing ghost threads
whispering me down to that disappeared place,
what stops me from hooking my thumb
into a loose strand, hanging tight,
and hauling it up with me to the cracking dawn?
Why not lash it to this canvas
lift its corner with this imperfect air
let it billow
and smash
into any of its thousand
shapes
around the inevitable breaking
open day?
 

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