SHANNON BURNS


ALL SLEEP

Pajamas may be a gesture
toward keeping
the planets in orbit

A cotton pajama may be right
for the sporadically religious
person at night

A sleep tee may be nice
to find
in the dark

Tee-jamas may be available
through certain passages

A slip may make a fool of you

But a nightie is something
that takes up no space in the world,
like a talent
 
 
 
 
THE BEGINNING

Now I have rocks and skulls, turtle shells, antlers,
long weird twisting sensual sticks, notebooks
in which you wrote holy ghost in circles and tubes
and shapes I don’t know that come to a point wrongly;
poems, a love poem for my mother, a dream that you
and she sit inside the poem you try to write – you talk
to her and laugh, blue glass around your table
and the home we had then; paintings, one you named
Mouth of the Cave but it looks like fire – driving somewhere,
Johnny recited to Mamaw Some say the world will end in fire,
some say ice
. Mamaw said, You made that up. Now she
is gone and Johnny will not come to my wedding. I have
the story of you at the little beginning where you stood
once, alone, very young and handsome, and watched
the snow and watched the power lines explode outside
the room where I slept, probably, just born, not knowing you
or whose I was. When I saw you last, your up-high house,
an orange lamp, aquarium of oils, sandalwood, coffee smells,
the hot light that hung around you, and my brother there,
and my true love, and I felt young and bounced away.
It was that way with you. With you I flooded, I rockslid
and snowfell, and you wrote me down. If I could I would
remember you perfectly.
 
 
 
 



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