Chapter 16
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Book Excerpt: night thoughts

Sarah Arvio’s books include Visits from the Seventh; Sono: cantos; and night thoughts: 70 dream poems & notes from an analysis (all from Alfred A. Knopf). Arvio has won the Rome Prize of the American Academy of Arts & Letters, as well as Arvio has won the Rome Prize of the American Academy of Arts & Letters, as well as Guggenheim, Bogliasco, and NEA fellowships. For many years a translator for the United Nations in New York and Switzerland, she now lives in Maryland near the Chesapeake Bay.

Book Excerpt: night thoughts

                 three vases
the three glass vases standing in the hall
in a last ray of summer evening light
each of the vases holding three roses
drowning underwater the three roses
yellowrose pinkrose & also bluerose
down in the water their fullpetal heads
that flow a little like little girls’ hair
in the dark hall in a last ray of light
we were three little girls is that the three
I was born third on the third of a month
on the wallpaper were three old roses
over & over the same old roses
the dreamdrowning flowinghair roses
& in the dream a ray of evening light

I meet my love it’s not night & not day
at a table not indoors or outdoors
the sky is a ceiling or the ceiling sky
all in purple silver there is no wind
he says he bought a house on the corner
for us for our life bought us a house
I look & look there is no corner
the houses are a seamless silver row
purple & silver & deepforest green
it opens & shuts like a paper fan
as for me I haven’t got a corner
he’s leaving me now to sleep on a slope
his corner is on a slippery slope
all around there are forests & forests

you can sleep on a rock my mother says
standing beside a flatfaced rock is that
the rock I can sleep on is that the rock
she’s tall & flatfaced standing by the rock
with some light passing around her body
& marking the trees in the winter woods
I know I feel stricken & desperate
though there are no feelings inside the dream
I know because I would feel this in life
if she told me I could sleep on a rock
a hard place to sleep a rock it could hurt
it could hurt for days & maybe for years
lying on that rock & bruising myself
for I slept on the rock & I was hurt

I love girls crying on station platforms
this is not a dream this is the truth
they are crying over their broken thoughts
crying over the night thoughts & the day thoughts
those are the ones they are crying over
I cry too seeing them cry & seeing
me in my life standing on the platform
crying out my eyes & down my young face
my youngold crybaby face crying out
without a sound on the station platform
or maybe with a caughtup breath & no more
though my chest goes updown as I cry in
crying over & over on platforms
wherever I am in the crying world