February 17, 2005

Travels in the Evening

After a conversation with an artist.

Last night, I dreamt
I swam through rings of smoke
and fire,
brushed aside some cobwebs
and a padlock,
and ended up
where Alice feared to tread.

The scent of dust was strong
there, and the scent of lilies
stronger, and stronger still
the scent of burning rosebushes
and dried out riverbeds.

Stories were written on the walls
of alchemists who had no use for gold,
of artists who had no love for beauty,
of great inventors who found no joy
in their own great inventions.

Shapes moved in corners,
sounds shifted in the viscous dark,
and I was afraid.

But gleaming
at the farthest ends
of this place I had entered
uninvited and unseen,
upon an easel made of ancient bones
a painting stood,
still-wet and fragile.

And coming closer,
for a moment,
I thought I recognized
myself.

Winter 2006.

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