salt and sugar
sugar and salt
the captain’s asleep
and the fevered crew
sleeps below deck

sugar and sugar
salt and salt
I am swimming too far
from the shore today

but somehow you’ve found me,
cradling me
with infinite starfish arms
in a yellow room
beneath this blue infinity
where even islands hide

salt and sugar
sugar and salt
I hold my breath
in nacrous layers of dreaming

and waking into dreaming and dreaming
into the white constancy of you:
my brow marked like sealing wax
from the signets of your shirt-buttons
as you grow new arms to support the weight
of all this dreaming me.

Soul swimmer,
you scaled my dream cliffs
and held your breath underwater
to bring me these oysters you’ve collected
in your pail—
calcified secrets of ocean candy

surprising me from sleep
with the sweet liquid shimmer
of oyster-flesh—
slipping pearls through my parched lips
as I fall back into dreaming
with the taste on my tongue
of poetry
from a luminescent benthos
so deep
language cannot penetrate—

sugar, sugar and salt
I’ve sunk my tired feet
in the smooth sand of your heartbeat.
I soak in this silence
of warmth and you
and the intimate sunlight
as it climbs to its height
before dipping into twilight
caressing this instant
before it slips, too fragile
to survive the daylight of waking—
just hold me close:
close as water to skin
close as the seafloor is far
beneath these rocking waves,
farther than the edge of stars
waiting to awaken
under our blinding veil of daylight—

don’t let me wake—
here in this fever, I have access
to all the secret rooms
with their mirrors and melting clocks
of persistent memory
where you find me,

in this sea of mad Escherian
potential, possessing no dimension
or sense, doorways in the sky open and
displaced barn owls prowl above seafoam;
coy angels flit—
who keep their distance
who never loved like this
who were never blanched silver
with such innocence
or they would have chosen
to fly so close to the sun
that their wings would have melted
in waxen impotence

I understand now
the love of the barnacle
for its whale
and I understand also
the fathomless floor of the whale-cry
as I wake into dreams upon dreams,
each one more false and motherless than the next
and yet there is this you
in only one liminal tidepool
at one cruel pink eclipse
I keep setting my watch to,
but the sun itself is confused
between day and night
and my second hand has stopped
in its tracks
as you slip away again as I wake,
dancing the silver thread
of forgetfulness

I feel you fading,
but I will be waiting
right here for you
in this secret place
where fever takes the soul.

A part of us stays here
always when we drift back to shore.
When I awaken,
I’ll touch my forehead
where your shirt-buttons rested.
Follow my sounding
into the surf and grottoes
where I wander, lost
but tethered safely to the tide-rush
of your heart—
awaiting your presence
within the sweet death
only dreaming permits.

© Psyche Marks 2007

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