We lived in bed, no matter where we went
or what we did; we were always there, pulling
the sheets up over our heads like souls
for whom bodies are gowns that weigh too much,
pressing ourselves so close to each other we felt
our skin cross over to bone. How many days
did we dream like this in our high stone room
to which we’d flown on the wings of little deaths?
We slept awake and woke asleep in a fire
we couldn’t put out; in a fire that burned
from the inside out. What did we know without
saying? That we would suffer the weight we lost
without even trying when we returned, then walk
like turtles on the beach? How fast do you think we said
“Yes! Yes!” to the poor first god
when he asked us twice in separate rooms,
“Are you sure about this?” So fast, I can tell you,
that the birds outside our broken window thought
we were singing a song only they remembered.
Chard deNiord is the author of The Double Truth, Night Mowing, and Sharp Golden Thorn. His book of essays and interviews with seven senior American poets titled Sad Friends, Drowned Lovers, Stapled Songs, Conversations and Reflections on 20th Century American Poets appeared in 2012. He lives in Putney, Vermont.