In this dark den,
a stillborn game of chess—
characters carefully poised
atop a table for attack; the shadow
of a spider plant, a black afghan,
a map of some unknown peninsula
somewhere near the Arctic ocean

I read in the news
that some explorer once got stranded
off the coastline of Kamchatka—
the snow made him blind
but he didn’t really mind
until he got lost and couldn’t find
the way back to his helicopter—

The brain is a confusing place,
a space of fear and forests
and tests, where the inquisitive
won’t rest until each corner’s
mapped on some handy GPS,
but if passion leads you
to burn all the trees
and ask too many silly questions
you’ll be left with only brushfires
and a bad case of depression

there are places you can only find
when you give it all up
and leave the mind
to follow its own calling

and falling into sleep, I notice
in the dark, a pattern of brocade
I know is green without looking
on the sofa; a clock ticks
and I wonder this:
those scientists who insist that
you can’t see colors in the dark,
they’re wrong, they’re all wrong,
they’re missing the point completely —

and my brain, like a refrigerator
with its invisibly delicate ventricles
void of concepts and numerals
emptying cerebrospinal fluid into the dumps
of a sullen nervous system that pumps
water through the subconscious,
inflow and outflow, exchanging liquids
of life that remain locked inside us,
preparing iced tea for the characters
in my dreams

it’s all good, it’s miraculous
how the elements connect
so spectacularly when at rest —
analysis is a job best left
to the quiet skill of the pineal,
Magritte’s magician,
its surreal juxtapositions
portraying me
in compromising positions—
juggling snow, clock, leaf

and how the cleaning crew comes in,
sweeping the 3am streets
of the corpus callosum
with giant trucks that buzz
their brushes over fallen blossoms
of false hopes, ripped-paper mistakes
that build up and blow in the breeze
causing traffic obstructions

and the cerebellum, didn’t you know
instincts as well can cause disruptions
when not met with their usual interruption
of a much-anticipated coffee break?

tick tock tick tock—
I let my thoughts off their leash
and under the covers, I release my grasp
on the future and the past,
entrusting the world my soul to keep
and allowing myself the silent luxury
of sleep

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