Dali and the Finer Points of Memory
On nights like this, I ferry only expired meat
across the sea. Moonlight blurred in the face
of dark water and the sky reddening
with every shade of eclipsed heat. By the shore,
I swilled the animals in the palette
of my mother’s dress, watched them collapse
on the stern. All their paws angled north,
like the dream where I am marooned
in every lonely scene. Monochrome
as the graying bite of wreckage.
Before the salt settled, I watched
the clocks unwind into frosted glass,
unlearned genesis as the absence of color
in the brackish heat of a storm.
Like the last voyage where I glimpsed a tiger,
shot through with moonlight
and downing in its own stripes.
How it spat only fever at my feet,
the canvas ripening into coral,
paled by the delirium it had torn into.
Afterwards, I mistook the world’s end
for a loss that bled itself dry
on the horizon. Red light wrenched
from some unwilling jaw. I returned
only to find an ocean of hands
to grasp, wrung salt from the sails
until there was enough to call it something sweeter.
All morning, I listened to the murmuring,
seafoam slipping between my teeth.
Armfuls of mirage to call my own.
I listened for the breathless hum,
the brush of tide against leavened salt.
Water stretching on and on in black light.
In this dream, my mother says there is nothing here
to see, not now. But once, my hands gessoed
and still whole enough to slip into
this smaller kind of living.
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